“If we don’t look after ourselves, no one will”: financial self-help and neoliberal political rationality
RCCS Annual Review
The aim of this article is to critically analyze the discourse produced in financial self-help literature (FSHL) within the general context of the financialization process. This analysis uses publications of this genre available on the Portuguese market as empirical material, and is based on the theoretical approach of governmentality studies inspired by Foucault. The first section reviews the concept of financialization, identifying its theoretical and empirical strengths and weaknesses. One such weakness is the lack of attention paid to microsociological aspects, which justifies the need to explore, in the second section, the type of subjectivity related to financialized capitalism. The third section examines the key aspects of this subjectivity, as presented in FSHL, including a framework for the characteristics of these publications, as well as a study of the motives, objectives and ways of putting self-help advice into practice. The final section focuses on the social basis of the texts as discursive tools of neoliberal political rationality.
consumer credit, financial capitalism, financial education, financial management, financial self-help