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The Euro and Its Rivals

Currency and the Construction of a Transnational City

Gustav Peebles

Publication Year: 2011

Gustav Peebles takes an anthropological look at two seemingly separate developments in Europe at the turn of the millennium: the rollout of the euro and the building of new transnational regions such as the Oresund Region, envisioned as a melding of Copenhagen, Denmark, with Malmö, Sweden. Peebles argues that the drive to create such transnational spaces is inseparable from the drive to create a pan-national currency. He studies the practices and rhetoric surrounding the national currencies of Denmark and Sweden, the euro, and several new "local currencies" struggling to come into being. The Euro and Its Rivals provides a deep historical study of the welfare state and the monetary policies and utopian visions that helped to ground it, at the same time shedding new light on the contemporary movement of goods, people, credit, and debt.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: New Anthropologies of Europe

Table of Contents

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pp. ix-xiii

This book is not about the yen and the dollar, the most obvious rivals to the euro. Instead, it is about the underreported ways in which daily monetary usage and public debates about monetary policy play a role in constructing the boundaries of community. It is an attempt to look at the euro through a specifically anthropological lens, since the lion’s share of work on the euro...

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pp. xv-xvii

On the financial side of matters, my research benefited from assistance provided by a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship, a Markovitz Fellowship, the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Council on European Studies, and the Council for Advanced Studies in Peace and International Cooperation. I thank NYU’s Center for European...

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pp. 1-18

Straddling a watery border in northernmost Europe lies a transnational space called the Øresund Region. As one newspaper headline confirmed, ‘‘The Øresund Region Is a Utopia’’ (Magnusson 1997) and, for many reasons, it could have readily fallen within the parameters of Thomas More’s witty double entendre, simultaneously denoting both ‘‘good place’’ and...

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1. Imagining Utopia, Constructing Øresund: From the Nation-State to the Region

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pp. 19-38

The utopian imagination, contrary to what many believe, is not dead (see Jacoby 1999; Kumar 1993; Marin 1993). Just as with past utopias, wild new dreams were projected onto the Øresund Region. As with old utopian visions, many battled against its creation, while countless others were merely uninterested—often precisely because the program struck them as...

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2. The Arts of ‘‘Scientific’’ Money: Monetary Policy as Moral Policy

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pp. 39-67

Because this book aims to examine the daily usage and rhetoric surrounding a variety of competing currencies, it is vital to provide a rigorous analysis of the monetary theories, histories, and structures that distinguish each currency from the others. This chapter will describe the similarities and differences among the theories and structures that organize the...

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3. Receipts and Deceits: Currency Regulation, Black Markets, and Borders

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pp. 69-91

In Malmö, Sweden, I lived around the corner from an office furniture store. Though I was in desperate need of a more comfortable desk chair, I could never afford the prices. One week, I noticed that it was having a close-out sale. Yet the prices were still, in my opinion, too high. After the sale ended, I spotted the men whose task it was to move the remaining chairs out of the...

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4. The Mark of Money: Regulating the Flow of Subjects

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pp. 93-119

While walking toward the Copenhagen harbor one day, I spotted a man who appeared to be dead, lying face down in the middle of a well-trafficked street. I did not quite know what to do, but noticed that everyone else did. The Swedes who were all hurrying to catch the next boat just kept walking right by him. This seemed an odd display for citizens famed for...

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5. Indebted Communities: Exiling Economic Hierarchy to the Margins

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pp. 121-153

On June 9, 1999, the citizens of Malmö awoke to a shocking front-page news scandal. Just on the heels of saving the town’s ice hockey team from millions of kronor of tax debt owed to the state (an event that had been covered extensively by the media), the wealthy and popular financier who resuscitated the beleaguered team was seized by the police for...

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Conclusion: Scientific Money for Scientific States

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pp. 155-162

Throughout the world, numerous conurbations straddle international borders. El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico; N’Djamena, Chad, and Kousseri, Cameroon; Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, and Slubice, Poland; Singapore and Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Typically, such binational spaces have never been considered part of a particularly august group that other cities have...


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pp. 163-183


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pp. 185-197


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pp. 199-207

E-ISBN-13: 9780253001412
E-ISBN-10: 0253001412
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253223203

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 1 map
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: New Anthropologies of Europe