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Money TalksExplaining How Money Really Works$
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Nina Bandelj, Frederick F. Wherry, and Viviana A. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168685

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168685.001.0001

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Money Talks, Plastic Money Tattles

Money Talks, Plastic Money Tattles

The New Sociability of Money

(p.201) Chapter 12 Money Talks, Plastic Money Tattles
Money Talks

Alya Guseva

Akos Rona-Tas

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that money in its recent digital, immaterial incarnation has acquired a so-called new sociability. In contrast to cash, any transaction involving plastic money always leaves a permanent trace, entangling its issuer and users in a relationship, no matter how small or one-off the transaction. If money talks, plastic money tattles, and this has far-reaching implications for actors at both macro and micro (household) levels. The chapter discusses the theoretical implications of immateriality and re-embedding delivered by plastic money. It then turns to a set of empirical examples to illustrate how plastic money enhances the ability of nation-states to govern and control their citizen-cardholders, focusing on the cases of Russia and China. It discusses plastic cards' potential effects on domestic economies, suggesting that the new sociability of plastic money could be informative (or revealing) not only to states and card lenders, but also to spouses and parents.

Keywords:   plastic money, sociability, Russia, China, credit cards, domestic economy, immateriality

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