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On Money and Quarantine

A Self-Ethnography from Italy

Francesca Messineo

Abstract

During the lockdown, I started perceiving cash as a potentially infected entity, carrying the virus on its surface. This article explores the trajectories and implications of this modified perspective on money by merging different levels of analysis. The attempt to grasp both the social and material significance of this ‘object’ will resound in personal anecdotes from my house. The self-ethnographic approach accounts also for the intimate feelings and the new gaze on money produced within me; the enthusiasm for imagining an economy driven by different rules; nostalgia for the activities I used to pay for; anxieties caused by this unprecedented health crisis; and my curiosity to observe how relationships with people and things have changed. The need to share experiences as a political statement and the desire to put fears and hopes into words guide my work.