Ester Barinaga

Professor, Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, PhD

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences


  • social entrepreneurship, community economies, social innovation, complementary and community currencies


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.


I teach on topics related to social innovation, social entrepreneurship and grassroots economics. Currently, I coordinate and teach the course "Re-imagining Capitalism".

Societal impact

The methods I use are interventionist, actively taking part in the entrepreneurial processes I also study. In the past, I founded (and still chair) Förorten i Centrum, a social venture that uses the collective production of mural art to work bottom-up with communities burdened by territorial stigmatisation (for more information, see

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.

Recent research outputs

Ester Barinaga, Oloko, M., Ruddick, W. O. & Zapata Camposs, M. J., 2019, Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD), 4 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperSpecialist publication article

Zapata Camposs, M. J., Ester Barinaga, Kain, J-H., Oloko, M. & Patrik, Z., 2019, Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy, ICLD. 36 p. (Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD))

Research output: Book/ReportReport

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