This book explores the effects of the gradual liberalisation of capital markets and the expansion of consumer credit on poorer households in the United Kingdom, with particular attention to the precariousness caused by a lack of savings and a reliance on debt. Asking what it means for poorer working individuals and households to be subject to the demands of finance, the author draws on Michel Foucault’s theory of subjectivation as well as Louis Althusser’s interest in class, actively theorising the constraints of low income or precarious work on financial planning, alongside the reorganisation or rollback of government benefits. A contribution to our understanding of the ways in which financial concerns deepen and expand economic inequality, Class and Inequality in the Time of Finance shows how finance stratifies individual subjects rather than simply individualising and separating them. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology with interests in neoliberalism, economic austerity, and consumer credit and debt.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Indebted investors as subjects of finance
2. Althusser and Foucault: Subjectivity stratified
3. The political economy of financial subjectivity: Structures and subjects
4. "The spirit of entrepreneurship": Discourse and strategy in the policy of Margaret Thatcher
5. The struggles of saving and borrowing, and the question of class
6. The uneven and contradictory nature of financial subjectivity: Subjugation and exclusion in the financialised social formation
7. Conclusion: Class and financial inequality
Niamh Mulcahy is Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Cambridge, UK.