Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN05_RN09_11a_P_JS: JOINT SESSION: Financialisation of the Everyday II
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Giacomo Bazzani, University of Turin
Location: PC.5.28
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 5.
Joint Session of RN05 Sociology of Consumption and RN09 Economic Sociology

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Worries, fears and hopes: Construing and mobilizing emotions in financial education

Daniel Maman1, Zeev Rosenhek2

1Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; 2Open University of Israel, Israel

The individualization, privatization and marketization of risk management are constitutive features of financialized capitalism. As individuals are held responsible for their financial situation, an imaginary emerges of the subject as a calculative risk-manager, who is expected to engage with financial markets as the main way to assure her financial wellbeing. However, due to the growing complexity of financial practices and instruments, most of the population faces fundamental difficulties in navigating the financial sphere. The notion of financial literacy and practices of financial education have emerged recently as a salient instrument to cope with this situation. As a technology of governance, financial education is directed at constituting proper financial subjects with the cognitive, moral and emotional dispositions deemed as necessary to engage effectively and responsibly with financial practices.

This paper examines the themes and notions deployed in programs of financial education currently conducted by state and non-state organizations in Israel, probing how proper conduct in key financial activities -- credit, saving and investing -- is defined and justified. The analysis suggests that though financial education is presented as essentially informative, emotions occupy a prominent place in it. Both positive and negative emotions around financial practices are construed and mobilized in order to shape individuals’ expectations and to prompt them to take particular financial decisions and actions. This emotional dimension contributes to connecting individuals’ subjectivities and life experiences to the individualization and marketization of risk management that characterizes the neoliberal institutional order, thereby contributing to normalizing the financialization of everyday life.

Artificial Intelligence and Financial Applications – Opportunities and Threats of Finacialization for the Daily Life of Consumers.

Sebastian Nessel

Graz University, Austria

Given the rise and usage of financial-assistance-apps (FAA) based on artificial intelligence, it is surprising that studies in the field of financial sociology have yet neglected this topic. This talk will address this yet neglected topic applying a practice perspective. It´s main focus is on the practical consequences of the rising use of FAA to plan and administer consumers´ financial transactions. First, new technologies in the financial sector are outlined. Attention will be given to developments that affect consumers´ day-to-day usage of financial technologies, especially FAA. Second, potential benefits and threats to individual consumers´ financial decisions based on FAA are discussed. I will show that FAA may enhance consumers´ financial literacy but can also lead to unintended challenges when it comes to budget restrictions as these are more tight to external forces. Third, I address societal consequences of new financial technologies. Here, my focus is on the consequences FAA may have on societal developments and on social inequality. I will show that new financial technologies can be an opportunity as it enhances actors to better plan their budget but also a threat as actors have to give a bunch of information to financial institutions and, thus, could, in a foucaultian manner, be subject to external scrutiny. As I will show, these developments are hence subject to political and societal struggles about what FAA guidelines could or should include. Finally, I discuss implications of new technologies for further studies in the field of the sociology of finance. I will underline my arguments with first studies in the field and by analyzing process generated data such as articles in leading tech-Journals or interviews with techfirm-CEOs.

Mobile Money and its social and economic impact: The case of M-Pesa in Kenya

Maria Nawojczyk1, Umulkher ABDILLAHI2

1AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland; 2Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya

Mobile money presents an unparalleled opportunity to deliver a basic suite of modern financial services to the “unbanked” millions across the world. The World Bank predicts that by 2020, mobile money could impact the lives of some 2 billion people in developing countries, heralding a new era of financial services where banking will no longer be the privilege of a small upper class. The mobile revolution, which has already reached millions of the poor, may well be the vehicle that that helps lifts them out of poverty as new and affordable financial products are rolled out in the next phase of development. For a long time, the focus of the financial inclusion debate has been on credit and savings services. At this point onwards, the study will focus on actual collection and analysis of empirical data on the constructs of mobile money and its impact on changes in social practices and on economic growth.

The main focus of the study is to assess the relevance of mobile money to the economic growth of Kenya between 2007-2015. Additionally it looks at what is mobile payment, the success factors of the most successful mobile money implementation, M-PESA (Mobile Money) in Kenya. The study is based on quantitative analysis of survey data from World Bank Enterprise Surveys, World Bank Global Financial Index and Kenya FinAccess Business Survey 2014.

The story of mobile money we will be grounded theoretically in the concept of network society and ANT following Castells and Latour.

Financialization and social inequalities in the Italian capitalism

Joselle Dagnes1, Angelo Salento2

1University of Torino, Italy; 2University of Salento, Italy

Over the last three decades, financialization phenomena originated from the Anglo-Saxon capitalist model have spread in several countries.

Nevertheless, since financial system’s transformations have to deal with national contexts (institutional, economic, cultural factors), some observers argue that in some countries the existence of traditionally-based specificities should be protective against the increasing influence of finance.

The paper aims to challenge this belief. We highlight how in the Italian capitalism the persistence of traditional elements (e.g. ownership concentration and control, patronage relationships) has not prevented from the adoption of financial patterns of accumulation. In Italy, particularly from the 1990s, the volume of financial assets and transactions has increased dramatically, and non-financial companies tend to pursue financial short-termist accumulation rather than production.

Starting from this framework, the paper argues that the Italian structural characteristics have been exploited as a resource in the transition to new strategies of short-termist accumulation. In fact, thanks to the existence of strong connections within a small elite, it is easy to develop informal coordination when changes occur, in order to guarantee economic and social reproduction processes. The paper will then show that the spread of financialization processes within Italian companies and families is leading to growing inequalities in terms of social inclusion and access to essential goods and services.

The research is carried out through a mixed-method approach – combining the analysis of official documents, quantitative analysis (i.e. social network techniques), and qualitative in-depth interviews to key economic actors.

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