Frankly Speaking: alternative currency practices in France

by Fiona Ferbrache

The economy is often portrayed as a hegemonic entity with little attention to the different ways it is encountered in everyday life.  However, in the small market town of Le Blanc in central France, daily spending practices are worth closer examination.  Eight years after the Euro entered circulation as the official currency of the European Union, many businesses and people in Le Blanc continue to trade with French francs.  For 30 local businesses, over 1 million francs (more than 150,000 euros) have been collected in the last three years.  While some residents explain their habits in terms of using up money they find in the back of a drawer, others suggest that the introduction of the euro caused prices to increase and feel happier continuing to use francs while they remain legal tender.

This micro-level example of a currency practice makes connections with Peter North’s recent book, reviewed in Area, on the micropolitics of alternative currency movements.  The book review clearly states North’s intention to bring about “an understanding of ‘the economy’ as it is experienced in our everyday lives” and shows how he achieves this through the contextualisation of small-scale case studies drawn from all continents.

View the BBC News article here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8588048.stm View the BBC News article on Le Blanc

Read the book review: North, P. (2009) Money and liberation: the micropolitics of alternative currency movements, Area 41,4 pp.479

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