Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Credit Cards, Social Relations, and Serresian Parasites in Chile

IMTFI fellow José Ossandón reports on how the use of credit cards is intertwined with complex social relations in Chile in a case study for IMTFI's Working Paper Series. Drawing upon Michel Serres's notion of "the parasite," Ossandón examines how low-income credit card customers in Chile use their "hidden" social networks to extend credit limits beyond those designed by the credit card companies. By lending cards to relatives and friends, Chileans leverage their existing social networks in complex and surprising ways, demonstrating how financial technologies are always already embedded in intricate interpersonal relations.

Read the full report here.

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