Popfinance: From the economic man to the Swabian housewife

Hadas Weiss


This article is based on my field work on finance seminars and consultancies in Germany, which are part of the financial literacy campaigns whose popularity is growing worldwide. I analyze the messages they deliver to argue that popfinance—that is, the terms by which financial markets incorporate the lay population—implies anything but the kind of value-calculating, satisfaction-maximizing, and enterprising agency that is often inferred in popular and scholarly literature. People are rather taught to distrust their impulses, lower their expectations, becautious and responsible, and assume a defensive and disciplined stance. Financialized households are thereby constituted as the reliable raw material from which capital can be generated and profit garnered in the highest echelons of finance


Germany, financial advice, financialization, saving, investment, agency, value

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/701114