Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Darrin Hicks, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Adrienne Russell

Third Advisor

Josh Hanan

Fourth Advisor

Luís León


Affect, Confidence, Financial education, Governmentality, Rhetoric


The 2007-08 financial crisis has been characterized as a “crisis of confidence” (Akerlof & Shiller, 2009), a span of time during which the non-discursive energy needed to compel Americans towards profit-producing decisions evaporated. Amidst this decline, the US lost its competitive edge in the global marketplace. Initial responses to the crisis by national leaders failed, triggering a revision to reasoning that resulted in a new argument taken up by central government: the lack of financial knowledge experienced by the majority of US citizens led to a population of ignorant decision makers lacking the confidence needed to take the risks necessary to propel the country’s economy forward.

According to the problematization, the solution necessary was the revision of the country’s financial education curriculum. Embracing this argument, both Presidents Bush and Obama called for the development of councils that would evaluate the status of financial education and use that information to recommend changes to the discourse of financial education in the future. This dissertation uses Foucault’s (1991, 2007, 2008) theory of governmentality alongside the affect scholarship of Brennan (2004) and Grusin’s (2010) work on the digital mediation of affect to examine these arguments and the technologies of governance they produced that would motivate US citizens to take control of their financial situations through actions made with confidence that would benefit these individual decision makers as well as the US economy.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Samuel M. Jay


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

164 p.


Communication, Web studies, Rhetoric