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.
- SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice
- credit referencing