« Golden everyday », by Orsi Husz

Husz Orsi, « ‘Quotidien doré': consommation des ménagères et domestication des banques dans la Suède des années 1960 », Le Mouvement Social, nᵒ 250, 2015, pp. 41-63

Published in French in our January-March 2015 issue, this paper is also available in english on DiVA (Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet – Swedish Academic Archive online) :



‘Golden everyday. Housewifely consumerism and the domestication of banks in 1960s Sweden’ by Orsi Husz




Abstract

« The paper explores cultural historical and gender aspects of the financialisation of everyday life through a case study of an extensive Swedish bank campaign in the 1960s targeting women. I analyse the so called Golden Everyday conferences (1961-1969) as representations of popular finance and I focus on two questions: firstly how the financial identities for a broad population were constructed and enacted; and secondly, which role the bank adopted in relation to its (presumptive) clients. The development of retail banking has been roughly outlined in historical studies of banking, but the challenge faced by the banks, and their strategies for entangling finances in everyday practices has not been looked upon in detail. Through the case of the Golden Everyday conferences I argue that in he 1960s a domestication of banks occurred intertwined with the “bancarisation of households” described in the history and sociology of banking. I highlight how emotionality, familiarity and references to consumer skills were used to domesticate a new kind of popular banking.

The conferences attempted to reconcile the “hostile worlds” of economy and intimacy. They furthermore framed everyday finance by a ‘housewifely’, consumerist and familiar discourse, which reinforced the bank’s new role in managing personal finance on an everyday basis. This new line was made practically possible by the introduction of a system of direct deposits and cheque accounts for salaries and wages, but the new practices were to be extended also to those who did not lift own salaries and even more importantly needed to be rooted in a domestic context – for both women and men. The financial identity that came into being in the Golden Everyday conferences differed from the identities emphasised by scholars of financialisation of everyday life or those writing about popular finance. The new clients of the Swedish bank, might very well have been engaged in investing, saving or borrowing, but they were addressed here as consumers of financial products. They were supposed to choose and buy in the “department store of finances”.

The bank certainly represented itself as a “department store” of finances. At the same time it also institutionalised the expertise about family economics/personal finances, an expert knowledge that previously belonged to many different governmental and non-profit organisations. Thereby the topics of sharing within the family were discussed in the same context as shareholding. »



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