16th December 2015

Domesticizing Financial Economies: Part 3

Call for papers for mini-conference at SASE 28th Annual Conference, ‘Moral Economies, Economic Moralities’

June 24-26, 2016,  University of California, Berkeley
Organizers: Joe Deville, Jeanne Lazarus, Mariana Luzzi, and José Ossandón 

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS: January 18th, 2016

The mini-conference “Domesticizing financial economies, part 3” will pursue the rich and exciting discussions of the first two Domesticizing financial economies mini-conferences, held at Chicago and London at the 2014 and 2015 SASE meetings. Our starting point is that the use of even the most sophisticated financial products can be understood in the light of a close empirical description of their various social and technical contexts, ranging from social ties and obligations, to ways of calculating, to specific devices and informational infrastructures. Rather than (or as well as) seeking to understand how financial economies are “economized”, to draw on a term used by Koray Çalışkan and Michel Callon, we are thus interested in work that explores how monetary transactions are woven into the fabric of the everyday and come to be “domesticized”.

The precise ways in which financial economies become domesticized, as recent literature and many of the papers presented at the last two versions of this mini-conference have shown, are deeply morally entangled. Credit evaluation mechanisms, for example, inevitably involve a moral dimension, with debtors being routinely connected, via a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches to collective categories of expected behavior (Deville 2015a, Fourcade & Healy, 2013, Han 2012, Lazarus, 2012, Ossandón 2012, 2014). Such financial instruments are in turn continuously ‘earmarked’ as they pass through domestic settings. Those who participate in monetary interactions cannot but perform what Zelizer calls “relational work” as they delimit the moral frames according to which their transactions are located (Zelizer, 2010; Guérin, Villareal and Morvant-Roux, 2013, Wilkis, 2013). Similar practices can be observed in the extension and creation of new monetary infrastructures (Maurer (2012). Mobile monies in countries in Africa and Central America, for instance, are intimately related with the actions of agencies that explicitly justify their action in moral terms (e.g. the Gates Foundation, most prominently). Meanwhile, governments and multilateral organizations around the world have made the extension of formal banking into a goal that is framed not only in economic but also moral terms. This can be seen in the advancement of goals such as financial inclusion and social and economic development that directly target financial citizens at the so-called ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (Elyachar 2012, Langley, 2008, McFall, 2015)or in the global proliferation of financial literacy workshops in which actors from the banking, policy and not-for-profit sectors attempt to educate individuals into becoming ‘financially literate’ (Lazarus, 2016). Such processes do not, however, encounter passive populations: controversies about financial instruments can lead to the development of new moral and political collectives, such as the variety of debtor publics that have emerged in different social and historical contexts (Deville, 2015b, Luzzi, 2012, Ross, 2014).

We invite papers that look at specific situations of monetary transaction and domestic credit and money management. Papers with varied disciplinary backgrounds discussing the following issues are welcome:

  • The intimate dimensions of monetary and financial transactions, whether in the moment of exchange itself, or before and after
  • Moral boundaries and/or inequalities operating through everyday and domestic settings rooted in and/or created by financial products
  • The ways in which household finances become entangled with and affected by a range of socio-technical devices
  • Emerging financial products and services targeting domestic finance that are re-shaping the financial ecologies encountered by consumers (e.g. payday loans, credit score management services, department store credit cards, pawn shops, new ways of banking)
  • Emerging transactional technologies (e.g. algorithms, databases, payment cards) and their new ways of sorting, screening and valuing financial consumers
  • Domestic financial products and their entanglement with “high” finance and broader chains of economic relations
  • Controversies, matters of concern, new affected groups, publics and commercial circuits being co-produced with contemporary domestic financial landscapes and/or financial instruments

Abstracts of no longer than 1000 words should be submitted by January 18th, 2016. If accepted, a full paper will be required by May 30, 2016.

All submissions should be made via the SASE website.

If a paper proposal cannot be accommodated within a mini-conference, organizers will forward it to the program committee, who will pass it on to one of the networks as a regular submission. Acceptance notifications will be sent by February 23, 2016.

Queries can be sent to j.deville@lancaster.ac.uk