Exclusively Simple: The Impact of Cashless Initiatives on Homeless Roma in Denmark

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This chapter examines the case of the cashless Roskilde festival as an entry point towards exploring potentials and limitations of cashless transactions for the urban poor. In doing so, it examines how the move towards a digitalisation
of the festival refund system influences a group of cash-dependent Romanian Roma women and men who depend on refund deposit as their primary income stream. I show how the introduction of cashless transactions is not fully cashless for persons who are among the ‘unbanked’ population in Europe. While they might be included partially in the digital economy, it is not a full inclusion and
mostly just adds another step to the transaction process of dispersing revenue from refund deposit at the festival. Consequently, such persons are compelled to carry both cash and digital swipe cards in crowded places where they could be lost or stolen. The chapter thereby illuminates how the transition to cashlessness appears to be ‘exclusively simple’. While simplifying transactions for social
classes in society that have access to the banking sector, these ‘cashless solutions’ are far from being as simple for destitute non-nationals who remain in the periphery of the urban economy. Notwithstanding these complications,
the chapter also illuminates some of the potentials of the cashless system for the urban poor as a mechanism for enhancing senses of personal safety. In this way, the ethnography shows how digital money as a means of payment
is not only about technology but also about defining social relations and positions in an increasingly cashless society (Maurer 2015: 28).
Translated title of the contributionExclusively Simple: The Impact of Cashless Initiatives on Homeless Roma in Denmark
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWho's Cashing in? : Contemporary Perspectives on New Monies and Global Cashlessness
EditorsAtreyee Sen, Johan Lindquist, Marie Kolling
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBerghahn Books
Publication date1 Aug 2020
ISBN (Print)9781789209150
ISBN (Electronic)9781789209174
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
SeriesCritical Interventions: A Forum for Social Analysis


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