Prudentialism and the ‘missionaries’ of life assurance
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
This paper sets out to explore the ways in which life assurance, as a specific form of financial conduct, was mobilized and shaped by the political rationality of liberal government. At a fundamental level, liberal modes of government are all about economic government. The
political philosophy of liberalism informed the development of an assemblage of institutions and agencies in the nineteenth century which acted, with relative autonomy, to realise the liberal project of government at a distance. Life assurance institutions were part of a diverse range of institutions which provided the means of defining and promoting the duties and virtues associated with liberal, economic subjectivity. The political rationality of
prudentialism as a particular way of conducting oneself as a liberal subject (O’Malley, 1996), the chapter will argue, informed the missionary zeal with which life assurance institutions pursued the project of equipping their publics with the skills and habits of prudence and thrift integral to the practice of insuring. The paper will investigate the material tools and practices that were deployed in the pursuit of this project.2007532