Seminar by Visiting Scholars Jitka Králová and Judit Durst

May 26, 2023

Peripheral Debt warmly invites everybody interested in anthropological research on household debt to attend a hybrid seminar by our two Visiting Scholars Jitka Králová and Judit Durst on 13 June 2023.

This seminar offers two different but, in many ways, related perspectives on entanglements of household debt and politics in East-Central Europe. In the first talk entitled Between Debt and Democracy: Over-Indebtedness and Contestation in Czech Deindustrialized Regions, Jitka Králová presents her doctoral research project that sets out to address the following key questions: Why did over-indebtedness emerge as such an acute problem in the Czech Republic in the recent decades? How was the state implicated? What characterizes the lived experiences of over-indebted individuals and what tools do they have to contest their socioeconomic marginalization? As the research project is based primarily on ethnographic fieldwork yet to be conducted, this presentation discusses the research context and concept and some preliminary insights. In the second talk, The Moral Economy of Debt Relations among the Poor in Rural Hungary: Financialization of Help?, Judit Durst explores the debt portfolios and the practices of “juggling with debt” of low income, precarious households in an economically deprived region in North Hungary, in the era of financialization (of help) and a context of prolonged crisis. Drawing on the moral economy approach and long-term, intermittent ethnographic fieldwork since the beginning of the 2000s, the talk investigates how the poor classify their various formal and informal debt relations and how their different debts are valued and interrelated, adding up to blurry boundaries between formal and informal finance. A systematic attention is given to distinctions between debts that require debtors’ immediate attention, those can wait to be settled, and those that debtors can contest due to the extortionate compound interest rate that they value as unjust. The analysis also sheds light on the role of (in)formal debt relations in pursuing “existential mobility” among the poor.

Jitka Králová is MPhil/PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) at the University College London (UCL). Dr Judit Durst is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Minority Studies in the Centre for Social Sciences (Hungary) and Honorary Research Fellow at the UCL Department of Anthropology.

For online participation, just use the following link:
Those interested in attending in person are asked to contact Marek Mikuš at as the number of places is highly limited.

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