Spending like a state: (In)formal credit, the local government and the rescaling of insecurities

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Szőke, Alexandra
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This paper examines informal credit practices in a remote Hungarian village. It explores the central role informal credit plays in people’s present and future social security as they strategize about using various resources amid large-scale unemployment and limited local resources. It furthermore explains the reasons for the local prevalence of the former, the ways such credit is used by individuals and families vis-à-vis other informal and formal arrangements, and how the users are morally judged. The analysis puts special emphasis on the links between individual practices of informal credit, the distributional practices of the local state, and broader socio-political tendencies. In doing so, the study reveals that the indebtedness of the local government and its short-termist distributional practices on the one hand, and the indebtedness of local unemployed people and the short-termism evident in their spending on the other can be linked to the same phenomenon; namely, the rescaling of insecurities.
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Szociológiai Szemle 28:(4) pp. 111-132. (2018)