Mobile Payments, Social Money: Everyday Politics of the Consumer Subject

Ruben Kremers, James Brassett
2017 New Political Economy  
How should we think about mobile payments systems like Apple and Android pay? We argue that mobile payments should be understood in the context of changing consumption practices and the wider problematic of the consumer subject in IPE. One (managerialist) view of these changes suggests that certain 'immaterial' values in brands, logos, or networks can become an important element in economic growth (Pine & Gilmore 1999; Arvidsson 2006) . Thus, businesses increasingly craft an integrated user
more » ... rience to realise brand value as the indicator of future consumption, e.g. Facebook, Netflix. Against this view, the critical literature has underlined how the customer relationship should be understood as an element in corporate power; enticing consumer subjects to dedicate their social lives to the task of monetisation (Zwick et al. 2008; Scholz 2013) . Rather than choose between sides of this dichotomy, we suggest it may be more fruitful to reflect upon the unanticipated potentialities of mobile payments in connecting consumer agency with new techniques of public interaction. By reflecting on the sociality of money (Appadurai 1985; Maurer 2012), we move beyond a simple cost-benefit analysis, or a structural determinism, to emphasise the contingency of market subjects and how they interact with emergent practices of mobile payments; questioning how to think about the relationship between consumer subjects, on the one hand, and a putatively impersonal (yet palpable) global economy, on the other.
doi:10.1080/13563467.2017.1306503 fatcat:f63sgnrnindwbabw2yc2ph36ui