The Limits of Ignorance: Financial Literacy and the Corporate Responsibilization to the Business of Life

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Abstract

How do corporations seek to construe and mobilize responsible consumers by offering products and services, the consumption of which are assumed to transform the individual’s self-relationship along proclaimed ethical and political goals? In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, increasing the financial literacy of ordinary citizen-consumers has taken a prominent position among regulators and financial institutions alike. The logic seems to be that financially capable individuals will enjoy social and political inclusion as well as an ability to exercise a stronger influence in markets. The article specifically contributes to our understanding of the governmentalization of the present by addressing how - at least in part - the corporate spread of financial literacy educational initiatives can be observed as a particular form of power at-a-distance responsibilizing the consumer. The focus is on the role of private enterprise in governmentalizing the business of life by establishing and mobilizing specific conceptual forms around which the life skills of the entrepreneurial self involves a responsibilization of the individual citizen-consumer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoziale Systeme
Volume19
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)379–404
ISSN0948-423X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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