Upcoming group presentation by Peripheral Debt team members in Halle (Saale)

January 17, 2024

On Tuesday 23 January 2024, Peripheral Debt team members Balázs Gosztonyi, Mathias Krabbe and Marek Mikuš will present their work-in-progress in a session of the Tuesday Talk series of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. The group presentation "Peripheral Debt: ethnographies of household debt in Eastern Europe" will be held from 16:15 to 18:00 in the Main Seminar Room of the Institute at Advokatenweg 36, Halle (Saale). All interested are warmly invited to attend.

This session of Tuesday Talk series will showcase work-in-progress of the Emmy Noether Research Group “Peripheral Debt: Money, Risk and Politics in Eastern Europe”, which studies social practices, relations and struggles around household debt in Eastern Europe as part of the region’s peripheral financialization. Balázs Gosztonyi looks at non-performing loans and debt collection in Hungary, which has become an important financial market since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. He uses multi-sited ethnography to explore the politics and routine functioning of this industry and focuses on debt collectors’ work practices and interactions between them, debtors and debt advisors to understand how defaulted debts are commodified and economic value is made of household distress. Mathias Sosnowski Krabbe studies the well-known and sizable group of Polish middle-class debtors with mortgages indexed to or denominated in the Swiss franc whose financial well-being (or lack thereof) has become dependent on the global currency market since the mid-2000s. His presentation will focus on mortgagors’ successful mass litigation against their creditors as well as their “market dependency” on specialized law firms. Marek Mikuš will note the specificities of recent mortgage support policies in Slovakia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, which entail provision of loan subsidies and target younger individuals and families. To make these policies intelligible, he will relate them to the lived experiences and social histories of housing debt. Finally, we will draw out the common patterns and divergences of our cases and note their contributions to the anthropological scholarship on household debt.

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