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Title: The security of public credit
Author: Boy, Nina
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2013
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This doctoral project presents an analysis of public credit as an imaginary of security against a critique of the Foucaultian analytic of liberal governmentality. The effective fiction of sovereign credit is traced in the form of the liquid government bond, the risk-free asset of financial-economic textbooks and the 'safe haven' role in times of crisis. The analytical relation between these different manifestations of public credit is conceptualized as a translation between the different terms and a translation from debt into credit, where government securities no longer require collateral but draw the credible return of capital from a perception of sovereign creditworthiness. By the 20th century government debt of developed economies was regarded as the safest asset in the financial system and crucially underwrites modem finance theory. While the analytic of governmentality contributes important elements to an analysis of sovereign credit, its turn from a centralized power of the state fails to account for the unity of the 'state effect'. Its close following of the liberal dichotomy of the 'market' and the 'state' prevents a grasp of the (dis)accreditation of sovereign credit. The article-based dissertation further articulates the financial imaginary of the state by comparing it with the political-legal fiction of the state person and shows that the performativity of the imaginary of financial security cannot be understood without regard to changing criteria of credibility manifested in particular in fictional realism. The present crisis of sovereign credit in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis however puts the century-old imaginary of sovereign credit to a new test and leads to a redefinition of sovereign creditworthiness away from market capitalization to non-market technologies of calculation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available