The Landscape of Consumer Credit Default: Tracing Technologies of Market Attachment

Deville, Joseph. 2010. The Landscape of Consumer Credit Default: Tracing Technologies of Market Attachment. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The first global recession of the twenty-first century has been widely characterised as a
crisis rooted in secured credit default. But in the UK, a different, less visible, but
increasingly common tale of credit default exists, which not only predates the economic
downturn, but continues to compound its effects: that of unsecured, consumer credit
default. This is the object of this thesis: it focuses on tracing the changing calculative
landscapes that heavily indebted and defaulting consumer credit borrowers in the UK
move through, from periods of borrowing, to managing debts, to being confronted by debt
collectors. It draws together the perspectives of borrowers, defaulters, collectors, industry
analysts and spokespersons, as well as insights from visits to three major debt collection
agencies, shedding light on a domain of socio-economic life which has been subject to little
detailed empirical research. At the centre of the thesis is the concept of ‘market
attachment’, drawing on work within the ‘economization’ programme within economic
sociology. In so doing, the thesis argues that in existing accounts of market attachment
there has been a lack of attention (a) to the variable modes through which markets seek to
enact attachments between consumer and producer and (b) to those constraining market
attachments from which ‘detachment’ is difficult. In particular, the thesis explores the
relationship between ‘affective’ modes of social action and economic calculation. Drawing
attention to how emergent, corporeal relations can become central to markets, the thesis
contributes towards enriching the vocabulary and expanding the potential empirical focus
of economic sociology. In so doing, the thesis explores the distributed politics of consumer
credit, centring on the separation enacted between ‘lender’ and ‘collector’. This separation,
the thesis argues, is not only useful for the collections industry, it is strategically put to
work and routinely re-enacted as a generative market device.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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20 October 2010

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Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2011 13:08

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:10


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