Over-indebtedness, Debt Management and Saving: Drawing Class Boundaries In and Through Financial Education
1Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; 2Open University of Israel, Israel
Notions and practices of financial education have evolved in the last decades as an important institutional field where the constitutive traits of the desired financial subject are formulated and communicated. At the notional level, the responsible and calculative financial subject is formulated in universal and neutral terms, as seemingly detached from social locations and hierarchies. Yet, the financialization of everyday life has different qualities and effects for individuals and families differently positioned in these hierarchies, and subjects are accordingly financialized in different modalities.
In this paper we examine different modalities of financial education associated with different class positions, comparing them in terms of organizational practices and contents communicated. We analyze financial education programs conducted by different agencies in Israel that target, implicitly or explicitly, different social classes. We examine the modes of operation and instructional and informational materials disseminated by these programs, focusing on the ways in which responsible and proper financial conduct is defined, explained and justified, particularly with regard to debt management and saving. Our analysis reveals significant differences between these programs concerning premises about proper and improper financial conduct and their causes, forms of intervention employed, meanings attached to practices of personal finance, and prioritized habits and dispositions. We contend that these differences indicate that financial education contributes to the drawing and signaling of class boundaries within a setting of financialization of everyday life, where the positioning of different populations in the financial sphere plays a key role in the production and reproduction of social hierarchies.
The Everyday Politics of Debt in Denmark - A Cosmological Interpretation
Roskilde University, Denmark
The normalisation of financial consumption has brought a financialised culture into existence. This ‘financialisation of everyday life’ urges people to internalise the logics of financial capitalism, becoming self-responsible, risk-taking - and inevitably for some, debt-plagued - ‘financial subjects’.
The research on financialisation has been informed by Foucauldian and ANT frameworks, basing their analyses of how state bodies and financial markets govern financial consumers in UK and USA on documents. Recently scholars have pushed for more sensitive accounts, urging researchers to move closer to people's actual engagement with debt, to reflect on how this engagement is conditioned by among others geographical location as well as to experiment with alternative theoretical lenses.
In this presentation, I will try to answer this call by presenting my PhD on people struggling with debt in Denmark. Drawing on interviews with debt-ridden people and observations of their institutional encounters, I will argue that their everyday experiences of confusion, deprivation, humiliation, isolation and surveillance are manifestations of an overall logic guiding the governance of debt - what I will think of as a 'cosmology'. My argument is that these sensations are the necessary product of, on the one hand, an extremely liberal financial market and, on the other, institutions whose formal instruments are too weak to recover outstanding debt. This creates a situation of institutional skepticism and (improbable) threats and makes room for less formal, morally charged "instruments" - or rather rituals - of shame, sacrifice and, in very rare cases, purification. The presentation will paint a radically different picture of Denmark, otherwise often imagined as the perfect welfare state that suspends the need for incurring debt and for individual responsibilisation when that debt turns bad.
Relationship with the Brand Throughout Life. Biographical Narrative Interview in Consumer Research
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland
The aim of the speech is to present a biographical narrative interview as a research technique in consumer research projects, especially in the field of research on the relationship between the brand and the customer and the relation to newer products introduced to the market.
The presentation will be based on the experience of the research project "Towards relational forms of using banking services", carried out in cooperation between the Institute of Sociology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Santander Universidades. Within this project an interdisciplinary team carried out 20 biographical narrative interviews, which were then subjected to qualitative analysis. The sample consisted of people aged 24-36, women and men, residents of large cities (over 500,000 residents), medium cities (over 50,000 residents) and small towns. They were qualified for research because of their time perspective (previously examined) and age.
The specific problems that occurred in the interviews were analyzed in relation to relatively narrow and non-emotive subject of the research project. The course of the interviews will also be presented, described on the basis of the interview phases identified by F. Schütze.