Juggling debt and the limits of care among the urban poor in Brazil

Opening Lecture for Brazilian Studies Program at AU by Marie Kolling, postdoc at the University of Southern Denmark

2018.09.11 | Camilla Dimke

Date Tue 18 Sep
Time 11:00 13:00
Location Aarhus University, Builidng 1465, room 415

This paper explores how low-income families in Brazil juggle debt and the debt relations among neighbours and relatives, as people become indebted to each other and debts are not always repaid. During the Worker’s Party government (2003-2016), policies of financial inclusion facilitated the proliferation of consumer credit and credit cards among the urban poor who gained access to credit based consumption in the formal economy and new livelihood strategies. In turn, they now face a double burden of debt in the informal cash economy as well as the formal cashless economy. Based on fieldwork in Salvador da Bahia, this paper will show how debt shape local relations, characterized by asymmetry and instability and as I will argue of both care and exploitation.

Marie Kolling is postdoc at the University of Southern Denmark and holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Copenhagen. Her work and publications investigate urban poverty and mechanisms of social exclusion, (in)security, housing and urban development, financial debt and its interplay with public policies and political economy. Her current research focuses on the digitalization of money and debt and its impact on (cash dependent) urban poor households. She has conducted extensive field research in impoverished communities since 2003 and most long term in Brazil, where she has spent more than two years doing fieldwork in Salvador da Bahia and Recife. Marie has produced an ethnographic film De Andada (2014) and is currently working on a podcast as part of her research dissemination.   

Globale Studier, Forelæsning / foredrag