Accepted Paper:

Person as debt: personhood, social networks ant the role of debt in East Timor  

Authors:

Kelly Silva (Universidade de Brasília)
Daniel Simiao (Universidade de Brasília)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic observations in East Timor, we argue that being in debt is an important part of the constitution of person, as opposed to the category of slave. We propose the dissolution of the dichotomy between exchange and debts, analyzing debts as part of exchange regimes in East Timor.

Paper long abstract:

Based on ethnographic observations from more than ten years of research in East Timor, we explore the idea that being in debt is an important part of the constitution of person amongst Timorese people, as opposed to the category of slave - those who are not in a condition to be in debt to others. Focusing on debts established primarily, but not exclusively, through marriage exchanges, we argue that the value of personhood is strongly linked to an expanded network of relations. More than the notion of "person", the very notion of "relationship" is established through debts. In this sense, we propose the dissolution of the dichotomy between exchange and debts, analyzing debts as an important part of exchange regimes in East Timor.

Panel P083
Debt: a critical reflection based on people's debts