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P057
Live Recording  
Digital encounters, cashless cultures: Ethnographic perspectives on the impact of digital finance on economic communities
Convenors:
Camilla Ida Ravnbol (University of Copenhagen)
Atreyee Sen (University of Copenhagen)
David Birch
Format:
Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Friday 24 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

This panel explores new approaches towards value, economy, money, debt, finance and fiscal relations. In doing so, it discusses how global turns towards digital finance (e.g. mobile wallets; credit and debit cards) impact cash dependent and marginalized groups, communities and families worldwide.

Long abstract:

New anti-cash fiscal policies and initiatives are decreasing cash transactions and replacing them with online payments, digital assets, credit and debit cards, algorithmic governance, and alternative forms of digital exchange, such as cryptocurrencies (Birch 2017). The subsequent 'cashlessness' encountered in everyday life takes on diverse infrastructural forms, social expressions and immeasurable manifestations: as scarcity of hard cash in circulation, the disappearance of material/cold cash as notes and coins, as abstract 'phone cash', and even as state-sanctioned demonetisation in which cash denominations are erased as legal tender (Sen, Lindquist and Kolling forthcoming 2020). Anti-capitalist economic forums remain critical of these financial drives that implement invasive, bio-metric strategies to facilitate consumer credit markets, and segregate unbanked populations from cash-light, mainstream economies. Other commentators and policy-makers argue that the rise of digital finance drives financial inclusion, socio-economic development and connectivity with marginalised economic communities. Etched in relief against this contested economic backdrop of e-finance, we invite papers that explore contemporary flows between credit, debt, and various conditions of exchange, borrowing and lending among/between individuals, markets, states, businesses and communities, which are negotiating global cashlessness. Contributions to the panel can focus on (but not be limited to) local themes and contexts such as changing household economies, migration landscapes, transactional activities, and lending cycles. They can also explore broader horizons involving the provision of financial services and the contingencies of cashless transitions.