Unpacking Financial Subjectivities: Intimacies, Governance and Socio-Economic Practices in Financialisation

Accepted for publication (2017) in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

34 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016 Last revised: 15 Feb 2017

See all articles by Karen Lai

Karen Lai

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Geography

Date Written: March 7, 2016

Abstract

Existing studies on financialisation have used Foucauldian governmentality to examine how everyday consumers, shaped by state initiatives and proliferation of financial products, are transforming into self-reliant subjects capable of seeking out financial knowledge and products for future security. This paper investigates the financial subject to unveil multiple narratives and sociotechnical devices that shape the financial practices of everyday consumers. Using agencement as a conceptual tool, the study examines the broad bandwidth of financial subjectivities that do not fall neatly into financialised/non-financialised categories. The analysis is based on personal interviews and ethnographic field work at financial literacy events that explore financial knowledge and practices of everyday investors in Singapore. Findings reveal the variegated ways in which consumers may become complicit, reluctant or even defiant financial subjects amidst neoliberal policies. By combining political economic and organisational dimensions of market formation with the lived and emotive elements of quotidian financial practices, this paper extends existing understanding of socioeconomic practices and the intersections of state, firms and everyday subjects in financialisation.

Keywords: financialisation, subjects, financial literacy, investment, governmentality, agencement, state, Singapore

Suggested Citation

Lai, Karen, Unpacking Financial Subjectivities: Intimacies, Governance and Socio-Economic Practices in Financialisation (March 7, 2016). Accepted for publication (2017) in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2767360 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2767360

Karen Lai (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Geography ( email )

1 Arts Link
Singapore, 117570
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.karenlai.wordpress.com

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