ICS Seminar - Ben Hanckel - YRRC. ICS

Young Adults’ Investments in the Future: Examining Digital Finance Practices, Class and Wellbeing

Presenter: Ben Hanckel - YRRC. ICS

Discussant: Dr Alexia Maddox - LTU

Chair: Ned Rossiter - ICS 


Young adults are increasingly utilising and engaging with emerging financial technologies, which enable greater access to stock market participation. This seminar draws on work across youth studies to examine the ways young people are participating in and across these spaces. The seminar draws on data collected across 5 focus groups with 21 young adults (19-30 years old), users of emerging financial technologies. Thinking with the concept of ‘techniques of featuring' (Hajer & Pelzer, 2018), which refers to the ways practices and actors orient towards a future, this paper explores the ways that young people participate and invest in their futures. The paper will begin by outlining the emergence of ‘digital finance cultures’ (DFC), where learning and participating in finance are enacted and (re)produced. In these spaces, young adults perceive and mitigate existing and future risks, as it aligns with key (imagined) milestones of one's life project. In doing so, imagined futures focus investment practices, where the outcomes are imagined to lead to financial independence, security, and well-being in the longer term. There are differences in the labour of investing and the doing of class, whereby practices are directed toward hedging against and with uncertain futures. Such practices weigh up individual circumstances and contextual considerations. The seminar considers the implications of these 'techniques of futuring’ and how we might make sense of them in consideration with the broader practices of young people and the uncertain and entrepreneurial futures that have become critical aspects of transitions into adulthood.


Dr Benjamin Hanckel is a sociologist at the Institute for Culture and Society and the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Benjamin’sresearch examines youth health and wellbeing, social inequalities, and social change. Benjamin has led research projects on health, well-being, and genders and sexualities research across Australia, East and South-East Asia, as well as the United Kingdom. He is an Acting Co-Director of the Young and Resilient Research Centre, and a 2023-2026 Australian Research Council DECRA fellow.

Event Details

Date & Time: Thursday, 25 May 2023, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Venue: Zoom + Room: EA.G.18, Parramatta South Campus