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Title: 'Payday mayday' in the media : a study of discourse, legitimacy and institutional change in the payday loan industry
Authors: Budd, Katherine Helen
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The economic downturn in 2008 saw the emergence of an industry in the UK that would soon experience tremendous growth: payday lending. What was once a niche lending option available via high street cheque cashing outlets, the market developed rapidly as banks tightened their lending criteria in the wake of the global financial crisis and a new group of online lenders emerged to fill the void. Technological developments in the market enabled firms to offer quick cash loans via websites and smartphone applications to applicants who may not otherwise have access to credit, but at incredibly high rates of interest. Interpreted by journalists and other commentators as taking advantage, both of the economic climate and the debtors themselves, the following years saw the progressive delegitimation of an industry that eventually resulted in government regulation. This PhD thesis tracks the processes of delegitimation in a longitudinal study of national newspaper content from 2008–2014, using discourse analysis methods. Central to the argument is that discourses circulating in the news media have been instrumental in shaping society’s interpretations and understandings of the payday loan industry, and bringing about important institutional changes in the market. The media acts as a lens through which organisational behaviour is framed, and as a space where struggles for legitimacy are staged. In a detailed qualitative study of 456 articles from six high-circulating tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, the thesis maps discourses from across the political spectrum to explore how the industry has been framed, paying particularly close attention to the use of metaphors, narratives and discursive legitimacy. At a time when other industries such as alcohol and gambling have experienced gradual deregulation of their practices, a Conservative chancellor has introduced legal regulation of a relatively small section of the UK’s consumer credit market. The thesis explores the important role of discourse and legitimacy in the transformation of this industry.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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