A kind of mental warfare: an economy of affect in the UK debt collection industry

Carl Walker, Paul Hanna, Elizabeth Cunningham, Peter Ambrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ‘securitization' of personal debt has increased the supply of credit and transformedlending patterns to focus on already indebted individuals. This paper draws uponempirical research with a range of stakeholders in the UK mainstream credit industry inthe South of England to interrogate the impact that recent changes to the industry havehad on the growing number of revolving debtors. It seeks to contribute to the developmentof a Critical Community Psychology of debt by providing an account of the ways in whichsubjectivities and distress are impacted by engagements with financial institutions. Ourfindings suggest that a series of social, political and economic transformations have laidthe grounds for the development of an industry where affective relations are central to themanagement of the conduct of a growing number of people. We discuss these findings interms of the growing literature which explores the complexity of the intersections betweenmarkets and actions, which stem from and are mediated by the body and which positdistress as distributed across a range of sociotechnical apparatuses, sites and markets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-67
Number of pages14
JournalThe Australian Community Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

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© The Australian Psychological Society Ltd


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