Responsibility, planning and risk management: moralizing everyday finance through financial education

Daniel Maman, Zeev Rosenhek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The individualization, privatization and marketization of risk management represent a fundamental dimension of the financialization of everyday life. As individuals are required to engage with financial products and services as the main way of protecting themselves from risks and uncertainties, their economic welfare and security are construed as depending largely on their own financial decisions. Within this setting, the concept of financial literacy and accompanying practices of financial education have emerged as a prominent institutional field handling the formulation and communication of the attributes and dispositions that arguably constitute the proper financial actor. This article analyzes financial education programmes currently conducted by state agencies in Israel, examining the notions and principles they articulate when defining and explaining proper financial conduct. The study indicates that moral themes and categories occupy a salient place in the formulation of the character traits that constitute the desired literate financial actor. Notions of individual responsibility, planning ahead and rational risk management are presented not merely as instrumental resources, but as moral imperatives. Through these notions, the programmes moralize a broad array of everyday practices of personal finance such as saving, investing, borrowing and budget management, thereby connecting the sphere of financial matters to the domain of moral virtues. Offering a representation of particular modes of financial conduct as constitutive components of morally virtuous personhood, these practices imbue the financial field as a whole, especially its current generalized logic of individualized and marketized risk management, with moral meanings, hence contributing to the normalization and depoliticization of the financialization of everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1996-2019
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Volume70
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • everyday finance
  • financial literacy and education
  • financialization
  • moralization
  • responsibilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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