Publication
Title
Time regimes in debt collection and mediation
Author
Abstract
Debt and time are inherently linked. In its essence, a debt is a quantified promise to pay at some point in the future. This article explores the temporal dimension of debt that manifests itself during the process of debt collection, the phase at which indebtedness becomes most tangible. Based on in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in the world of debt collection in Flanders, Belgium, we analyse how different temporal techniques used by street-level debt collectors incite debtors to pay. Both in collection out of court by collection agencies as well as in judicial enforcement of the obligation to pay, debt collection imposes a strict schedule of repayment on the defaulting debtor. In this time regime imposed upon debtors, payments are closely tracked, so that any deviation can be met by swift reminders and pecuniary punishment. The time regimes of debt collection can conflict with the temporal structures present in the everyday economic lives of the debtors. Incongruences appear due to frictions between the rhythm of repayment on the one hand, and temporal irregularities of the economic lives of debtors on the other. To further explore this time dimension, we also look at how debtors respond and adapt to the new temporal impositions, and how debt mediators deploy temporal strategies when assisting the over-indebted. By negotiating payment plans with creditors, debt mediators mitigate the harsher aspects of the time regime enacted through collection agencies and judicial officers.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Time and society: an international interdisciplinary journal. - London
Time and society: an international interdisciplinary journal. - London
Publication
London : 2019
ISSN
0961-463X
Volume/pages
28 :4 (2019) , p. 1382-1408
ISI
000486295700005
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 09.04.2018
Last edited 04.11.2021
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