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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses sociological approaches to household financial practices and credit visibility. First, the chapter identifies how social networks lead consumers to make significant decisions about spending, saving, and asset building. Sometimes financial decisions that appear to be the result of poor information turn out to be the effects of the individual’s position within a social network, along with the expectations and pressures associated with that position. Second, the chapter explains how consumers manage their social relationships through their consumption decisions in a process of relational work, but their relationship management strategies also reflect new ways of accounting for their spending decisions as they participate in various rituals and enable their socially significant others to do so as well. Consumers begin to mark, track, and design roughly shared decision rules about how to prioritize household financial decisions for these rituals in a process of relational accounting. The chapter concludes with the role that consumer credit scoring plays in shaping the life chances of households and how these effects differ by race, gender, and neighborhood.

Keywords: asset building, credit visibility, household debt, household finances, relational accounting, relational work

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