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Suspensory indebtedness: temporality, morality and power asymmetry in experiences of unsecured consumer debt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-553
Number of pages23
JournalEconomy and Society
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 25 Jul 2019
DatePublished (current) - 29 Nov 2019

Abstract

The power asymmetries operating through debt include not only the domination of conduct and the extraction of wealth but also unequal struggles to define value. Long-term ethnographic fieldwork on a low-income housing estate in southern England revealed a ‘suspensory’ approach to debt, in which those who cannot afford to comply with their creditors’ debt repayment demands suspend both the temporal point at which debts will end through repayment or enforcement and the dominant morality of repayment through amoral humour about being a bad debtor. This shows that the form of power asymmetry that debtors experience, if any, hinges on their relation to both the morality and temporality of repayment.

    Research areas

  • debt, inequality, morality, temporality, joking, value

    Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice
  • Bristol Poverty Institute

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Documents

  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor and Francis at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2019.1652985. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 334 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 29/05/21

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