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Title: Towards a cultural international political economy of financialisation : the transformation of private pension provision in the United Kingdom
Author: Stephenson, Adam Matthew
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2008
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In the last two decades especially, the scale, depth and intensity of competitive changes in the financial services marketplace have progressed to new heights. Financialisation, as it has become known, is creating new opportunities and constraints for nations, businesses and 'people', as the circuits of production have become more closely bound up with the innovative dynamics and institutions of the capital market. In an attempt to define, measure and explain the financialisation of the economy, this thesis draws upon a unique theoretical framework to explore the transformations in private pension provision. Using the work of Karl Polanyi as our guide, and particularly of those ideas found in his seminal book The Great Transformation, we posit that financialisation has gone through two different stages that we call disembedding and re-embedding. To articulate this proposition and to examine it beyond conventional economic accounts, we draw upon a wide variety of cultural (political) economic scholars, such as Veblen, Foucault, Bourdieu, Giddens, Callon and Thrift, whose ideas collectively help us to understand the cultural processes, strategies, conflicts, interactions and performances underpinning the ongoing evolution of financialisation in society. Applying this framework, we find that the collective pensions that were once part of a unified post-war political economy have come under threat from the new idea that welfare should be linked to the vagaries and anonymous circuits of the stock market. Disembedding has taken its form through the financialisation of pension provision, encouraging an explicit change from collective welfare to individual responsibility. While the individual has become precariously embedded as a financial consumer inside commercial market relations, it is doubtful whether this model is sustainable and practical as a means of delivering social inclusion and political enrichment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available