Living with market attachments

In the fold of default  | 

In Chapter 2 we encounter the technologies of the debt collection industry for the first time. If many of the devices assembled around borrowing, as documented in Chapter 1, are concerned with the easing of life, then those that come into play when an overdue debt needs to be repaid are (to a large extent) about disruption. Moving into the domestic spaces of defaulting debtors, this chapter begins to examine precisely how the attachments between defaulting borrowers and creditors are maintained and re-established through debt collection technologies. Here we find the presence of affect particularly hard to ignore. Drawing on a Deleuzian vocabulary, the movements of attachment are described in terms of twin movements of ‘enfolding’ and ‘unfolding’. It explores on how mundane, socio-material technologies of debt collection become folded into the everyday lives of defaulters, before unfolding into their interactions with others, including the debt collector itself. It is this double movement that provides the conditions for the capture of affect and its transformation into both emotion and economic calculation. In the process, I propose that to understand practices of market attachment, more attention is needed to how they intersect with, and exploit, some of the other attachments that people live with and confront.

[Text adapted from the introduction of Lived Economies of Default]