Household financial organisation and discursive practice: managing money and identity

Stefanie Sonnenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on the intra-household economy has gained great impetus over the last 20 years. There has been particular interest in the ways in which financial resources are distributed among individual household members. This, in turn, has led to the delineation of different systems of financial management. Methodologically, work in this domain has been informed by large-scale surveys and interview studies. The present paper contends that, due to their analytic reliance on the individual perceiver, current methods cannot fully account for the contradictions that are raised by key findings in the field. It is argued that a discursive approach, with the critical language awareness associated with it, might not only be able to reconcile some of these paradoxical findings but also provide the basis for a more critical understanding of the social–psychological processes underlying household money management. The potential contribution of a discursive approach to studying the intra-household economy is illustrated by drawing on group interview data. This calls attention to (a) the inherent variability of people’s accounts regarding their money management practices and (b) the identity processes involved in such ‘money talk’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-551
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


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