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Entanglements of/with debt: navigating indebtedness, making relational futures 
Ferda Nur Demirci (University of Toronto)
Cagri Yoltar (York University)
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Cagri Yoltar (York University)
Tuesday 23 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel explores the intricate relationship between forms of debt and community building across various domains such as welfare, care, citizenship and intimacy. What expectations of the future do present relations of indebtedness enunciate? How does debt furnish the ground for the future?

Long Abstract:

How can scholars make sense of the entanglements between debt and community building as manifested in different technologies of care, policing, citizenship, and intimacy? Debt is not only a social and economic bind or commitment, but more than that it is a temporal one; a faithfulness to the past and an obligation to the future. This temporality is reflected in the multiple “transactional orders” (Bloch & Parry 1989) and the moral transactional capacity of indebtedness in different value scales (Guyer 2004). Debt functions to have a hold on the future primarily through promises (to pay, repay, reciprocate), allying the future with the present. That is what renders indebtedness constructive in unexpected instances and endows debt with future potentialities.

Yet, it is because of these temporal commitments that debt has often been approached as toxic and vicious; as a spatiotemporal displacement. Indeed, anthropological literature has often seen debt as better evaded, as an interpersonal relationship experienced as a dependency (Peebles 2020), loaded with long-term non-contractual obligations that hinder self-fulfillment and self-sufficiency. How can we think of indebtedness not as malicious or destructive, as a burden to be transgressed, but rather as a necessary medium of solidarity and community building, as well as a tool for self-development? We attend to the ways in which debt can offer a common ground for community building, either through sharing the debtor's guilt and gratitude, or aspiring for a common future free of debt.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -