The Multiple Accounts of Financial Inclusion

Friday, 3 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.2.03 (Tower Two)
JosÃÂÂÂ OssandÃÂÂÃ, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
In policy discussions, financial inclusion is associated with the positive consequences of previously excluded population accessing to formal financial products such as bank accounts or credit cards. Detailed description provided by social scientists in recent years had challenged this view by showing that the borders between formal and informal in finance is thin and contested, and that financial inclusion also paves the way for new inequalities, modes of exploitation and of controlling populations and capturing affects. Social studies of finance, however, have not yet provided a strong concept of financial inclusion that can both consolidate the scattered learnings of recent research on domestic finances and can challenge the oversimplified notion used in policy discussions. This paper attempts to do that.  The paper is composed of two parts. The first part combines the concept of ‘test’ - as both a socio-material trial and a moral classification - as developed in French pragmatist sociology, Luhmann’s discussion about the role of expectations in his theory of inclusion and exclusion, and Leyshon’s and colleagues idea of ‘financial ecologies’ as special configuration where multiple forms of financial inclusion co-exist-, in order to consolidate a strong concept of financial inclusion. The second part uses empirical material from interviews with risk managers of different consumer lending institutions in Chile to empirically ‘tests’ the conceptualization suggested in the first part.