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The Sociology of Debt$
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Mark Featherstone

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447339526

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447339526.001.0001

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‘Choose your moments’: discipline and speculation in the indebted everyday

‘Choose your moments’: discipline and speculation in the indebted everyday

(p.119) 5 ‘Choose your moments’: discipline and speculation in the indebted everyday
The Sociology of Debt

Samuel Kirwan

Leila Dawney

Rosie Walker

, Mark Featherstone
Policy Press

Looming behind the formidable spectres haunting Europe is a rising tide of indebted households. This chapter focuses upon the United Kingdom, where a perfect storm of measures has caused a fundamental change in the very meaning of ‘household debt’. In this chapter we focus upon the temporal frameworks of debt, challenging the dominant understanding of debt as imposing a ‘disciplinary’ framework of time upon the subject. Across two bodies of fieldwork – with the advice sector and with debtors – we trace not only the imposition, management and varied narratives of ‘disciplinary’ structurings of time, but also the ‘moments’ in which they crack, fragment, or are suspended. We show how the ways in which debt is sold, managed and collected, as well as the practices through which debtors consider multiple futures in their negotiations of debt, weave other forms of time into the indebted everyday. We show also how the stagnation and irregularity of household budgets renders the disciplinary edifice of debt increasingly unstable. Following the work of Lisa Adkins, we bring these non-disciplinary ‘moments’ together under the remit of ‘speculative time’.

Keywords:   Debt, Temporality, Financialisation, Intimate Relationships, Speculation

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