Managing Human Riskiness in the Times of Finance: On the Social Foundations of Financial Accumulation

May 14, 2015  • Posted in Member Projects  •  0 Comments

Luis Flores — University of Michigan — Department of Sociology

This historical project seeks to synthesize debates of U.S. financialization and of welfare state transformations since the postwar era around a framework of a nation-wide reconfiguration of “human risk management” across the income scale (with homeownership, home equity credit, stock ownership, 401Ks, and Individual Development Accounts illustrating key practices in this transformation). I find usefulness in focusing on the influence of two key trends emerging between 1970 and 2002: the function of “credit as demand” or as macroeconomically essential consumption, and “social demand for credit”, the emergence of social movements articulating access to credit as a citizenship right. Moreover, this project seeks to address emerging questions involving the relationship between practices of “human risk management” and the stability of investment markets, the “representational” effects of financial investments (on deeply meaningful practices like education and housing), and state of financialized human risk (self) management after the collapse of the housing bubble. (Featured Image: 1980s advertising for mortgage securities in Businessweek).

Twitter: @jrluisf

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