project: Caroline Woolard

Cigarette Barter in WWII Berlin to America

A selection from the Barter Archive of Caroline Woolard

Is mutual determination a threat? Barter Archive is an archive of barter imagery, exchanged stories, comic books, economic textbooks, barter manuals, and reciprocity agreements.


WWII cigarettes barter - A selection from the Barter Archive of Caroline Woolard Aleksandra Kalashnikova

From clothing swaps and unpaid internships to corporate barter brokers and the origin myth of money, the Barter Archive explores western perceptions of barter, both haggler and communitarian.

If economies produce relationships between people, what happens when value is determined locally, between two people? What fears underlie the barter dynamic in popular imagination - desperate subjects swindled by people who “drive a hard bargain”?

This archive places stories of mutual aid and forced negotiation side by side, making visible the range of barter references held in contemporary culture. From neighborhood swap-parties to haggling pranksters in folklore and stories of desperate negotiation during the financial collapse, told by economic anthropologists. Altogether, barter is shown to be a vulnerable practice of mutual agreement.