Between a knock at the door and a knock to your score: Re-thinking ‘governing through debt’ through the hopeful ‘imaginaries’ of UK debtors

Samuel F Kirwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This paper draws upon research in the UK debt advice sector to consider the role played by the credit referencing sector in shaping how UK society is ‘governed by debt.’ In response to existing literature within cultural economy on the ‘governmentality of the credit file,’ the paper draws upon two images of the ‘debt trails’ concept to foreground the hopeful futures, shaped by and mediated through relationships with intimate others, that are conjured and articulated by debtors. It describes in this respect two distinct ‘imaginaries’ that take hold in debtors’ speculative practices; that of a stable household anchored in a strong or improved credit file, and that of a household that is able to manage the ‘hard edges’ of ‘priority’ debt enforcement. While the latter marks a distinct limit for the ‘power’ located in the credit referencing sector, the paper finishes by noting how changes in income and household budgets are re-shaping this speculative landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Early online date24 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sep 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice

Keywords

  • debt
  • Governmentality
  • credit referencing
  • speculation
  • money

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