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

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  • Ruben Kremers
  • James Brassett

Abstract

How should we think about mobile payments systems such as 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 International Political Economy. One (managerialist) view of these changes suggests that certain ‘immaterial’ values in brands, logos or networks can become an important element in economic growth. Thus, businesses increasingly craft user experiences to realise brand value as the indicator of future consumption, for example, 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. Rather than choose between sides of this dichotomy, we suggest it may be more fruitful to reflect upon the unanticipated potentialities of mobile payments. By reflecting on the sociality of money, we move beyond a simple cost-benefit analysis, or a structural determinism, to emphasise the contingency of market subjects, questioning how to think about the relationship between consumer subjects, on the one hand, and and a putatively impersonal (yet palpable) global economy, on the other.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruben Kremers & James Brassett, 2017. "Mobile Payments, Social Money: Everyday Politics of the Consumer Subject," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(6), pages 645-660, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cnpexx:v:22:y:2017:i:6:p:645-660
    DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2017.1306503
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