28 Jan 2022 17:00-18:30 online


Socioeconomic inequality has been growing in Britain over a period of 40 years, following a series of policy developments intended to reduce government expenditure by cutting or restructuring welfare provision and benefits. The more recent introduction of austerity measures in 2010, following the global financial crisis, saw a pronounced reduction in assistance available to struggling households, at the same time as stagnating wages, a shrinking labour market, and a rising cost of living stretched household finances. The depletion of personal savings and the accrual of vast amounts of debt have resulted in precariousness for individuals and families across the country, even when they are in full-time employment or working multiple jobs. In her book, Niamh Mulcahy illustrates how households become financially precarious, as a result of the spread of risk from capital markets into household finances through consumer finance products such as loans, mortgages and credit cards, as well as personal investment products, which tie savings to a fluctuating market. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s theory of subjectivation, alongside Louis Althusser’s interest in the institutionalisation of class-based inequality, the book examines how households become trapped in a state of financial precariousness through the promotion of risk-taking methods that are intended to produce greater rewards and self-sufficiency.

Niamh will be joined by Dr Ronjon Paul Datta (University of Windsor) and Dr Ariane Hanemaayer (Brandon University) in a discussion of class and financial inequality.


Dr Niamh Mulcahy completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Cambridge in 2019, where she was also a member of King’s College. Her earlier degrees, including a BA (Honours) and MA were undertaken at the University of Alberta, in Canada.


“Is the social study of finance necessarily nominalist? Using realism to address critical shortcomings”. Forthcoming in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.

“Shaping entrepreneurial subjects: How structural changes and institutional fixes shape financial strategies in daily life”. Thesis Eleven 142:1 (2017), 5 – 17.

“Workers-as-consumers: Rethinking the political economy of consumption and capital reproduction”. Capital and Class 41:2 (2017), 315 – 332.

“Entrepreneurial subjectivity and the political economy of daily life in the time of finance”. European Journal of Social Theory 20:2 (2017), 216 – 235.

“Narrating developmental disability: Researchers, advocates, and the creation of an interview space in the context of university-community partnerships”. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 11:2 (2012), 165 – 179.

Book Reviews

Review of Democracy in What State? New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Daniel Bensaïd, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Kristin Ross, and Slavoj Žižek. Translated by William McCuaig. Rethinking Marxism 25:4 (2013), 602 – 605.

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