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From wage earners to financial consumers: cheque account salaries in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7194-5533
2015 (English)In: Critique Internationale, ISSN 1290-7839, E-ISSN 1777-554X, Vol. 69, no 4, 99-118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the late 1950s Swedish commercial banks started to offer payroll services to employers and open current accounts with chequebooks for both white- and blue-collar employees. Within a decade Swedish wage earners were turned into bank customers and the commercial banks – formerly solemn institutions serving business and the very richest – became retail companies selling a wide range of products to a broad public. The paper investigates, through the case of so-called cheque account salaries, the cultural challenges posed by the exceptionally early bancarisation (spread of the use of banking services) in Swedish society. I argue against over-emphasising the individual self-governing financial subjects depicted in Foulcauldian studies of the financialisation process. The making and control of new financial subjects in Sweden was made possible, at least during its first phase, by technologies and discourses rooted in a more directly disciplinary and hierarchical value system impregnated by class (as defined by production rather than consumption). Collective affiliations of groups of employees, building on wage earner identities, rather than on consumer identities, proved to be instrumental in the financialisation of everyday life. The new everyday consumers of financial products were created in a back and forth movement between the older subject positions and the models imagined for the new. Furthermore, my study demonstrates that the prevalent chronology of the financialisation of daily life in Europe can be traced further back in time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Presses de Sciences Po , 2015. Vol. 69, no 4, 99-118 p.
Keyword [en]
class, financial socialisation, financialisation of everyday life, financial subjects. cheque, bancarisation, cultural meanings of money
National Category
Social Sciences Economic History Sociology Other Social Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303978OAI: diva2:975020
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation
Available from: 2016-09-28 Created: 2016-09-28 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved

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