[PhD Offers] Call for Proposals for Up to Three PhD Scholarships – Monetary Orders in Capitalist Modernity

The Hamburg Institute for Social Research is offering up to three scholarships for doctoral projects that seek to analyze empirical phenomena of monetary (dis-)orders with the aim of further developing debates on monetary theory. Proposals should focus on studying empirical phenomena that have not yet been considered by research or be dedicated to re-visiting previously explored issues and empirical evidence with new theoretical equipment. Of course, the ideas themselves can also become the subject of observation, provided that this is done with reference to monetary realities.

This call for proposals responds to developments in economic sociology, the history of capitalist cultures, political economy, and the anthropology of economic practices, in which modern economic forms are increasingly reflected upon as monetarized economies. All in all, these reflections are based on conceptual considerations on the question of what money actually is. For too long, perspectives on economic sociology, economic history, and political economics in particular have been marked by a neglect of theoretical considerations regarding money. Modern economies were commonly examined as market exchange economies, a theoretical framework that presupposes money as a functional condition, but is not specifically focused on modern economies as monetarized economies. Although empirically ubiquitous, in the research on processes of marketization and practices of market exchange, money itself has occupied a theoretically subordinate position. By placing empirical observations of money and its theoretical reflection at the center of capitalism research, however, it becomes possible to further develop alternatives to increasingly questionable, well-established conceptualizations of modern economies.

The scholarships will be awarded for innovative project ideas that deal with empirical cases to critically engage in these theoretical debates and seek to articulate independent positions. Proposals do not necessarily have to be premised on a preliminary decision as to whether money is to be addressed as a medium of exchange, as an “absolute” social means (of exchange), as credit—that is, a creditor-debtor relationship—, as a diverse collection of culturally shaped monetary practices, or in another, very different way. What is important is that the proposed research projects seek to make theoretical decisions on the basis of careful deliberation and scrupulous assessments that constitute significant and competitive contributions in the context of current debates. Under no circumstances should the following list of possible topics therefore be considered complete:

  • How and why do alternative means of payment (such as local or crypto currencies) arise and how do multiple currencies and monetary orders coexist, what interactions or interferences arise between them, and what social effects do these contacts have?
  • What role do monetary orders play in macroscopic developments of global inequalities?
  • Are changes or structural continuities of monetary orders related to other socio-economic transformation processes such as digitalization?
  • How has the functional, economic, or social significance of cash changed; how can we assess the current debate on the opportunities and risks of abolishing cash from a sociological and political-economic perspective? What is the relevance of cash as a field of business and as a growing global market for research on and theories of money?
  • What significance do monetary hierarchies between currencies and between forms of money have for global power relations; how do these relations change as a result of transformations in the global economy and the economic rise of states and regions?
  • What significance do monetary hierarchies and the shift of the privilege of money creation to private banks have for the economic dynamics and stability of financialized capitalism?
  • What role do nation-states play for the creation and maintenance of monetary orders—in theory and in practice? How “monetarily sovereign” are modern states, that is, do they have the capacity to finance every expenditure, independent of their revenue?
  • To what extent can reflection on the nature of money contribute to our understanding of the construction, development, and crisis of Europe’s supranational currency?
  • Do financial and economic crises have dimensions relevant to a theory of money?
  • What role does the value or purchasing power of money play for different theories, and what explanatory approaches do we have and need in order to record changes in monetary values and relations? Is there a need for a new, non-economic theory of inflation and if so, what would it be like?
  • Do we need a theory-sensitive analysis of the history of ideas of money and monetary orders, because the existing ones are shaped by certain theories of money that may be questionable from today’s perspective?
  • Which social conflicts that are linked to the design of monetary orders can be identified from a contemporary and historical perspective? To what extent is making such distinctions useful for furthering the analysis of economic change; that is, how sensitive must the history of capitalism be with regard to the significance of money?

The Hamburg Institute for Social Research has a tradition of focusing on the phenomenon of violence. Research projects that can bridge the gap between theoretical debates on violence and analyses of monetary (dis)orders are thus especially welcome.

The scholarships carry a monthly stipend of 1400 Euro. This is a base amount. Scholarship recipients will receive supplements for one or more children and may be eligible for further supplements. Detailed information can be found here. The scholarships will be awarded for two years with an option for an extension of up to two further years.

Scholarship-financed research projects at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research come with an additional budget for travel, books, and other research-related expenses that are appropriate to the requirements of the respective project. A workplace will be provided, and regular presence at the Institute is expected for the duration of the scholarship.

Applicants must have an above-average degree in sociology, history, cultural studies, political science, economics, or a related discipline.

Applications with cover letter, curriculum vitae, an academic work sample (master thesis, term paper), certificates and transcripts showing grades for all courses completed, and an outline of the proposed doctoral project or a collection of sketches of ideas (five pages maximum) must be submitted in a single PDF document by e-mail to monetary-orders(at)his-online.de. The closing date for applications is 18 November 2018. The earliest date for funding is 1 March 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this call, please do not hesitate to contact us at the e-mail address provided.

Source: https://www.his-online.de/en/the-institute/working-at-his/vacant-positions/phdscholarships/

[ Online Course ] – The first Community Currency Design Course is online

We are honored to announce that the first Community Currency Design Course is now available for free on the Grassroots Economics website. The quality of the course is surely granted by the extraordinary experience and knowledge of Dr. William O. Ruddick and his staff behind the Grassroots Economics organization. The course is divided into 5 modules, each one dedicated to a specific topic. Mainly addressed to practitioners, the goal is to understand how to set up and design a community currency project. [ 1 ]

Click here to start the MOOC


On May 2010, Dr. William O. Ruddick introduced Eco-Pesa to three informal settlements inside Kongowea Location in Mombasa County, namely: Kisimu Ndogo, Shauri Yako, and Mnazi Mmoja. Later he founded Grassroots Economics Foundation and in 2013 developed the Bangla-Pesa model based on the results of Eco-Pesa, in the informal settlement of Bangladesh, Kenya.

A 50 Bangla-Pesa note

Other currencies in Kenya that follow the Bangla-Pesa model include Gatina-Pesa in Kawangware, Kangemi-Pesa in Kangemi, Lindi-Pesa in Kibera, Ng’ombeni-Pesa in Mikindani. K’Mali in Kokstad South Africa, as well as Berg-Rand or BRAND in Bergrivier South Africa, also follow a similar model. [ 2 ]

All local currencies that emerged after the Eco-Pesa in Kenya (six in 2017) experience are now grouped under the label Sarafu-Credit, but they originally were issued under the supervision of an association named Koru Kenya, which does no longer exist. In 2017, six communities are currently using Sarafu-Credit in Kenya totaling over 1200 users. The system is the same in all of them, though each community uses its own version of Sarafu-Credit, giving it a unique name depending on the local toponyms, and managing it independently. [ 3 ]

About the author

Dr. William O. Ruddick is a development economist focusing on East Africa. After completing graduate school researching high energy physics as a collaboration member at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, he found his analysis skills and passion drawn to alternative economics and development. Since 2008 Will has lived in East Africa and managed several successful development programs in environment, food security and economic development. He is dedicated to connecting communities to their own abundance, and is an advocate for, and designer of, Complementary Currencies for poverty eradication and sustainable development. Dr. William O. Ruddick has pioneered Community Currency Programs in Kenya since 2010 and is the founder of the award-winning Bangla-Pesa program. He consults on Community Currencies worldwide and while researching with the University of Cape Town’s Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit. Dr. William O. Ruddick is also an associate scholar with the University of Cumbria’s Institute for Leadership and Sustainability. [ 4 ]


[ 1 ] https://www.grassrootseconomics.org/mooc

[ 2 ] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-Pesa

[ 3 ] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarafu-Credit

[ 4 ] Dr. William O. Ruddick Linkedin Profile


[PhD Offer] Multidisciplinary PhD in Currency Innovation

IFLAS has been researching and teaching on local currencies, crypto currencies and blockchain since 2014 when our University became the first public University in the world to accept bitcoin. Since then we have always had Ph.D. students studying this area, taking a multidisciplinary approach, drawing upon social theory to explore the implications for the public of a multicurrency future.

We are now seeking new applications for Ph.D. research in this field, to start October 1st 2018. The opportunity is suited to people who work on this topic and could do a Ph.D. part-time over 4 or 5 years. They would work alongside a full-time Ph.D. student who works with the new Lake District Pound, and with Professor Jem Bendell as their supervisor. Most supervision is provided remotely, and so the number of visits to campus during the programme can be negotiated (the July 2019 summer school is obligatory).

There is no funding, but the fees for part-time students with UK or EU residency are very competitive (under 2000GBP a year).

If you already have a Masters degree and are interested, please write one page about your idea for your research and your motivation, and send it before May 10th to Professor Jem Bendell (email: jem(dot)cumbria(at)cumbria(dot)ac(dot)uk). If your idea is relevant, then you will hear within a week of initial contact and be invited to submit a formal application before the end of May to enable an October 1st start.

More information on our Institute is available at www.iflas.info

More information on our views on blockchain and crypto is here.

Our latest peer-reviewed paper on the topic, from Prof Bendell, is here.

Our international engagement on this topic is via Prof Bendell chairing the organizing committee of a UN event on blockchain. Information here.

Source: http://iflas.blogspot.it/2018/04/multidisciplinary-phd-in-currency.html

[PhD Offer] Funded PhD on Local Currencies

Fully funded full time PhD on local currencies in stunning Cumbria, supervised Prof. Jem Bendell. Closing date: midnight 18 February 2018.


The Lake District Pound (LD£) initiative is the context within which the research project will be carried out. This is an innovation in local currency that builds on the prior work and positive outcomes of other complimentary currency initiatives in the UK and globally. The LD£ will operate alongside sovereign Sterling currency with a more direct purpose to support the local rural economy.

This initiative will utilise a range of innovative methods to adapt and extend the idea of a ‘currency with a purpose’ to a rural context with a unique demographic including for the first time a National Park. A core aim of the initiative is to shift visitor spending from using large external businesses (e.g. online retailers and travel companies, remote delivery services, etc.) towards local companies and communities. The anticipated impact is to retain more wealth in the region to fund social and environmental projects and through the local focus and supply chains deliver measureable environmental benefits.
The LD£ initiative has a number of short and long-term aims, which will be greatly enabled through this research project. The aim of the research project is to provide a foundation and framework for measuring the success of the local currency initiative and from that measure, to identify optimum practice and future direction to improve such local currency initiatives.

The PhD research topic is the development of a framework for evaluation of the impact of the Lake District Pound and generation of data on that impact. This evaluation must include indicators of economic impacts, as well as social, cultural and environmental impacts. The evaluation needs to involve quantitative metrics, but can also include more qualitative assessments. It is a multidisciplinary study, with the candidate being able to draw upon a range of fields in consultation with the supervisor (for instance, potential insights from sociology, accounting, corporate sustainability, voluntary sector and organisation studies).

The PhD researcher will work with The Lakes Currency Project Ltd as well as conducting the research for the PhD – and will be based in the stunning Lake District National Park.

The Lakes Currency Project Ltd is the organisation behind the introduction and support of the ‘Lake District Pound’. It is incorporated as a private entity following the guidelines of a Community Interest Company to drive the LD£ initiative as a commercially sustainable project. The generation of revenue from the initiative will be directed in joint partnership with the Lake District Foundation to support vital sustainability projects in and around the National Park, and the Cumbria Community Foundation to support critical projects to help the poorer local communities. Their long-term aim is to develop an element of autonomy and economic resilience within the Lake District and surrounding communities in response to the continually increasing impact of global tourism that often serves to impoverish rural areas.


Full-time PhD – annual tax-free stipend of £15,000 p.a. for 3 years
Tuition fees paid for by the industry sponsor (Home/EU fee)

The PhD is supported by the ERDF funded Eco-innovation Cumbria project led by the University of Cumbria.

Application process

To apply please visit the website for details of the entry requirements which must be met and to access the application form. Under the Research Proposal section of the form please summarise your approach to the proposed project outlined in this advert under the following headings: General Overview of Area, Identification of the Relevant Literature, Key Research Questions, Methodology, Timescale/Research Planning

Please include a covering letter telling us why you want to study for a PhD, what interests you about this project and highlight the skills and experience you will bring. Give the title of your research proposal as: “The Lake District Pound: Developing Local Sustainability through Economic Innovation in a Rural Context

For any queries relating to admissions please contact Research Student Admissions rsa@cumbria.ac.uk

If you wish to find out more about the project in the first instance please contact: Ken Royall, Chief Executive, The Lakes Currency Project Ltd. ken@lakedistrictpound.com or Dr David Murphy, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria david.murphy@cumbria.ac.uk

Closing date: midnight 18 February 2018.

Interviews to be conducted 26th February 2018 in Ambleside, Cumbria. Candidates will be required to give a short presentation on their approach to the research proposal. Strong candidates may be given the option for an interview by video conference.

Source: Prof. Jem Bendell’s Website

Facebook Post