'Neighbours First, Bankers Second': Mobilising Financial Citizenship in Singapore
Lai, Karen P.Y. and Tan, Choon Hang (2015) ‘ “Neighbours First, Bankers Second”: Mobilising financial citizenship in Singapore‘, Geoforum, Vol. 64, pp. 65-77
39 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016 Last revised: 16 Feb 2019
Date Written: May 7, 2015
While financialisation has been typically framed as a market imperative that permeates everyday life and transforms individuals and households into responsible self-governing subjects, we argue that the role of the state is vital in explaining the formation and impacts of specific forms of financial subjectivity. In particular, the state is an active agent in the production of financial citizenship through championing particular financial responsibilities and duties. As such, individual consumers are financial subjects who not only fulfil neoliberalised scripts of self-reliant and disciplined subjects able to take care of their own financial futures, they are also mobilised as citizen subjects who contribute to a stronger and more competitive national economy through their changing financial practices, even as they benefit from greater access to financial products and services. Drawing from the role of the Singapore government and the institutional development of the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), we connect state, firm and individuals in the changing roles of financial logics in everyday life, corporate transformation, and how those feed into broader developmental objectives of Singapore’s international financial centre aspiration. This supports a more supple analysis of Foucauldian governmentality by drawing out the ways in which heterogeneous elements of power — sovereign, disciplinary and biopolitical — are reconfigured and redeployed in new formations of financial subjects.
Keywords: Financialisation, financial subjects, financial citizenship, banks, state, Singapore
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