I am a “home-grown” PhD researcher as, prior to starting my PhD research on ‘Sustainable Consumption in an Era of Economic Downturn’ in October 2012, I completed my Integrated Masters degree at the UEA. My integrated degree was in Environmental Sciences and the modules I undertook gave me a strong grounding in environmental sociology and sustainable consumption. During the final stages of my integrated degree, I became intrigued by the plethora of promising new ideas, cultures and practices emerging from community-led initiatives for sustainability. I was particularly fascinated by grassroots sustainability innovations which invest in the alternative cultures of cooperation and reciprocity in place of individualism and destabilize, through their struggles and practices, the hegemony of capitalocentrism.
My PhD research (working with Dr. Gill Seyfang and Dr. Tom Hargreaves) aims to empirically demonstrate that even in an era of economic downturn and widespread pessimism regarding our capacity as a society to deliver sustainability, enough space for action and scope for change remains for non-capitalocentric grassroots innovations. Particularly, my research builds on a non-abolitionist line of thought claiming that a non-capitalist Utopia can materialise through radically transformed money. Accordingly, and on the basis of theorisation on proliferative non-capitalism, it critically examines post-recession alternative currencies as spaces where people experiment and exchange despite yet beyond capitalism. In aiming to broaden the debate on how these currencies are made and develop, the research takes the form of ethnographic inquiry of three alternative currencies developed with non-capitalist aspirations in mind in recession-laden Greece.
Grassroots innovations; sustainability transitions; alternative economic spaces; diverse economies; social and solidarity economics; community currencies; counter-cultures; post/non-capitalism