“A Machine for Living”

The Cultural Economy of Financial Subjectivity

Authored by: Rob Aitken

The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138308213
eBook ISBN: 9781315142876
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315142876-33

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Abstract

Financialization occupies a space at the very heart of how we understand our globalized present and its relation to a range of possible futures. As this volume indicates, this concept refers to the diverse ways in which finance is now at the center of our social and economic lives: “The machinery for measuring, modelling, managing, predicting, commoditizing, and exploiting risk,” argues Arjun Appadurai (2016: 44), “has become the central diacritic of modern capitalism.” As the late Randy Martin (2016) has implored, however, financialization is not merely an economic form, but a cultural practice, a set of scripts about how we are supposed to live our everyday lives (see Hiss 2013). Broadly, the wide extension of finance as a powerful force has resulted in a culture criss-crossed by the language and practice of calculation as a dominant vector of social life, what Max Haiven (2014: 4) refers to as the “financialized imagination”: “the rhizomatic and diffuse appearance of financial metaphors, practices, narratives, ideals, measurements, ideologies and identities throughout the social fabric” (see also Davis and Walsh 2016).

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