Debt is often thought of as a mere economic variable governed by a simplistic mechanical logic, ignoring its other facets. Whose debt, and debt of what exactly? This volume analyzes debt as a political and social construct, with a multiplicity of purposes and agents. All of these are vectors of meanings that are highly diverse, and of subtle distinctions; they show that debt is a transverse phenomenon, cutting across spaces that are not merely economic but also domestic, social and political. Each contributor takes a fresh view of the subject, dealing with debt at a different time, in a different society, on a different scale of observation. By adopting a determinedly interdisciplinary approach, the authors reveal in the phenomenon of debt a diversity of social and gendered determinants that amount in some cases to domination, allegiance or slavery, and in others to solidarity and emancipation. Debt is at one and the same time shared, imposed, political and gendered.
1. Introduction: Debts Shared and Imposed, Political and Gendered Bernard Hours and Pepita Ould Ahmed 2. Paying What One Owes… or Carrying Out One’s Obligations Pepita Ould Ahmed 3. Debt: The Price of What, Exactly? Bernard Hours 4. Incompatibility and Complementarity of the Chicago Plan and Alternative Monetary and Financial Mechanisms Jean-Michel Servet and Tom Moerenhout 5. Why Are Poor People Reluctant to Borrow?: Microcredit in Rural Morocco Jean-Yves Moisseron and Pepita Ould Ahmed 6. Debtors and Creditors: Constructions and Delegitimization of Powers in Mali Françoise Bourdarias 7. The Indebted State in Algeria: State Demand, Social Conflict and Imaginary Sources of Power Laurent Bazin 8. The Imaginary Debt of Communism: Political Conflicts and Historical Legitimization in Romania Antoine Heemeryck 9. Indebtedness and Women’s Material, Monetary and Imaginary Debts in the Era of Globalized Gender Isabelle Guérin, Magalie Saussey and Monique Selim 10. Debt, or How to Get One’s Neck Out of the Noose Tassadit Yacine 11. Perceptions of Debt and Microcredit in Senegal Eveline Baumann and Mouhamedoune Abdoulaye Fall 12. Conclusion: Debt Without End Bernard Hours and Pepita Ould Ahmed