Department of Business Humanities and Law

  • Entrepreneurship, Ethics & Leadership Unit
Professor with special responsibilities

Room: POR/18.B-3.22
+46 707 99 3410
E-mail: eb.bhl@cbs.dk

As a response to growing inequality, apocalyptic environmental damage, and the protracted effects of a global financial crisis, an increasing number of citizen initiatives are leading social innovation and entrepreneurship processes. Suggesting alternative economic and social imaginaries, and aiming at making our communities more resilient and our economies more sustainable, these citizen initiatives are experimenting with new forms of organising collective action. Activist entrepreneurs, community groups, cooperative initiatives, grassroots innovators and social entrepreneurs are working bottom up to generate solutions to many of the world’s current challenges. My research focuses on the concepts, strategies, tools and practices used by this new breed of entrepreneurial initiatives in their efforts to build sustainable economies, inclusive cities, and resilient communities. The methods I use are interventionist, actively taking part in the entrepreneurial processes I also study. In the past, I founded Förorten i Centrum, a social venture that uses the collective production of mural art to work bottom-up with communities burdened by territorial stigmatisation.

Currently, with a group of researchers and practitioners from Gothenburg University and Kenya (JOOUST University and Grassroots Economics Foundation), I'm part of setting up three community currencies in Kisumu (Kenya). In this doing, we hope to gain a better understanding of the diffusion strategies of grassroots innovations as well as of the economic, social and political impact of these monetary innovations on the communities introducing them.

Primary research areas
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Micro-finance
  • Complementary and community currencies
  • Arts and social change
  • Engaged Scholarship
Administrative tasks

Ester Barinaga holds a 35% professorship at CBS

Curriculum Vitae
Link to this homepage


Selected publications
  • Barinaga, E. 2017. “Community Arts: On the precarious compromise between the inspirational and the civic worlds.” In Raviola, E. & Zackariasson (eds.), The Arts and Business: building a common ground for understanding current society. Routledge.
  • Barinaga, E. 2017. “Tinkering with space: The organizational practices of a nascent social venture.” Organization Studies.
  • Barinaga, E. 2016. “Engaged Scholarship: Taking responsibility for the politics of our method mediations.” In Landström, H., Parhankangas, A. & Riot, P. (eds.), Challenging entrepreneurship research. London: Routledge.
  • Barinaga, E. 2014. “Micro-finance in a developed welfare state: A hybrid technology for the government of the outcast.” Geoforum, 51:27–36.
  • Barinaga, E. 2013. “Politicising Social Entrepreneurship: Three Social Entrepreneurial Rationalities towards Social Change.” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 4(3): 347–372.
  • Barinaga, E. 2010. 2010. Powerful Dichotomies: Inclusion and exclusion in the Information Society. Stockholm: EFI.

  • Barinaga, E. 2007. “’Cultural diversity’ at work: ‘National culture’ as a discourse organizing an international project group.” Human Relations, 60 (2): 315–340.


Publications sorted by:
Ester Barinaga Martin / Remaking Money for a Sustainable Future : Money Commons.
Bristol : Bristol University Press 2024, 292 p. (Alternatives to Capitalism in the 21st Century)
Book > peer review
Richard Dimba Kiaka; Michael Odero Oloko; Juan Ocampo; Ester Barinaga / “Gaming the System” : How Communities Strategize Around Currencies, Convertibility and Cash Transfers in Kenya.
In: European Journal of Social Sciences Studies, Vol. 9, No. 6, 2024, p. 34-58
Journal article > peer review
Maria Jose Zapata Campos; Ester Barinaga; Richard Dimba Kiaka; Juan Ocampo / Nothing to Lose : The Rationales of Grassroots Financial Innovations in Contexts of Extreme Scarcity.
In: Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2023, p. 193-212
Journal article > peer review
María José Zapata Campos; Ester Barinaga; Jaan Henrik Kain; Michael Oloko; Patrik Zapata / Organising Grassroots Infrastructure : The (In)visible Work of Organisational (In)completeness.
In: Urban Studies, Vol. 60, No. 1, 1.2023, p. 126-145
Journal article > peer review
Ester Barinaga; María José Zapata Campos / Tinkering with Malleable Grassroots Infrastructures : Kenyan Local Currencies in Informal Settlements.
In: Urban Geography, 2.8.2023
Journal article > peer review
Ester Barinaga; Andreu Honzawa; Juan Ocampo; Paola Raffaelli; Leanne Ussher / Commons-based Monies for an Inclusive and Resilient Future
In: Climate Adaptation: Accounts of Resilience, Self-sufficiency and Systems Change. Bristol : Arkbound 2021, p. 301-321
Book chapter > peer review
Ester Barinaga / A Route to Commons-based Democratic Monies? : Embedding the Governance of Money in Traditional Communal Institutions.
In: Frontiers in Blockchain, Vol. 3, 27.11.2020
Journal article > peer review
Ester Barinaga / Coopted! Mission Drift in a Social Venture Engaged in a Cross-sectoral Partnership
In: Voluntas, Vol. 31, No. 2, 4.2020, p. 437-449
Journal article > peer review
Ester Barinaga; Michael Oloko; Will O. Ruddick / Community Currencies as Means of Local Economic Empowerment : Innovations from Mombasa and Nairobi to Kisumu, Kenya.
Visby : Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy, ICLD 2019, 4 p. (Policy Brief, No. 4)
Working paper
Maria Jose Zapata Campos; Ester Barinaga; Jaan-Henrik Kain; Michael Oloko; Patrik Zapata / Organising Grassroots Initiatives for a More Inclusive Governance : Constructing the City from Below.
Visby : Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy, ICLD 2019, 36 p. (Research Report, No. 15)
More results... (total 38 results)
Academic Interests

Project Title – Community Currencies: Grassroots Financial Innovations for Inclusive Economic Growth
The project investigates the governance practices, impacts and diffusion of grassroots innovations, which are developing financial and monetary infrastructures for inclusive economic growth in urban informal settlements in African countries. It is informed by the case of community currencies in the informal settlements of Kenya’s three major cities (Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu). Running throughout four years (2019-2023), the project uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, all within a participatory action research approach. The project builds on collaborations with resident associations and community-based organisations in three informal settlements in Kisumu, the local non-profit Grassroots Economics Foundation, the Kisumu County Council as well as Jaramogi University, Copenhagen Business School, Lund University and University of Gothenburg. The project brings together monetary and grassroots innovation studies in interdisciplinary research, contributing to the development and diffusion of financial and monetary infrastructures for urban informal settlements, and indicating a novel route for social enterprise and development aid.
Funded by DANIDA (Denmark).
Time-span of the project: 2019-2023

Project title – Special-purpose money: Complementary digital currencies and the sustainable development goals
The research project investigates the foundation of special-purpose digital currencies (SPDC) and the extent to which their infrastructure enable the creation of a complementary socio-economic system that captures and transacts value realms other than those recognised by general purpose money (GPM). Building on a systematic review of the literature on local complementary economy initiatives as well as on empirical research of international case studies, the project aims to identify the factors (e.g. governance and management), the stakeholders (e.g. communities, local authorities) and the monetary design traits (e.g. currency convertibility, currency value base) required for the development of a SPDC that would encourage sustainable production and consumption. By applying a humanities approach to the investigation of general-purpose money as an artefact generating unsustainable practices, the project will shed light on how the design of a digital special-purpose currency may promote more sustainable practices.
The research collaboration is led by Alexander Paulsson (Lund University) and includes research institutions from five countries – Lund University in Sweden, Getulio Vargas Foundation and Sao Paulo Business School in Brazil, HEC Montréal Business School in Canada, Brunel University London in the UK, and Maastricht University in The Netherlands – and involves setting up Living Labs in Brazil, Sweden, and the UK.
Funded by Formas (Sweden)
Time-span of the project: 2021-2024


Research Projects
Outside activities
  • Professor at Lund University, 2019-
  • Fellow at the University of Southern California