Locked into the System? Critical Community Psychology Approaches to Personal Debt in the Context of Crises of Capital Accumulation

Carl Walker, Mark Burton, Jacqui Akhurst, Serder M. Degirmencioglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The considerable and sustained boom in personal debt recently has in many countries around the worldled to experiences of over-indebtedness that are associated with very considerable distress and suffering.This article explores critical perspectives that situate personal debt, material deprivation and suffering,and specific ways of knowing and acting, within the context of recent political and economic practices.There is a need to focus on positioning people's experiences of debt within a broader matrix of factors ofnational and international practices and policies, including globalisation, changing labour markets, andpoorly regulated financial industries. These factors appear to have allowed a network of internationalfinancial institutions to adopt practices that have proved successful in creating personal debt. Yet, anindividualised discourse of financial capability has been propagated, configuring personal debt as aproblem of irresponsible individual consumption. In order to explore ways of resisting reactionaryand individualised modes of addressing personal debt, proposals will be made of alternative paradigmsfor responding to personal debt, defined by two dimensions of community psychological practice, withexamples. This article aims to increase collective awareness of the systemic character of debt and thecollective responses required. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

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