Digital Technologies of Debt Resilience

Everyday life and citizenship in the Age of Austerity

“This project will investigate the intersection between the civil society organizations that advocate or provide services to people in debt and information sharing forums for people in debt. In other words, to what degree is the information provided by civil society organizations in online debt forums; and, is information shared by the indebted addressed in civil society public information campaigns. Our partner Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion is an umbrella organisation that co-ordinates and builds capacity between the public, private and third-sector organisations working within the area of financial inclusion and welfare. Here we will focus on two particular civil society groups: those that engage in advocacy for (Trade Unions, The Money Charity/Credit, Credit Union Trade Associations), and those providing services to the indebted (Citizens Advice Bureau, Money Advice Trust, Turn2U, StepChange).

The first part of this project preliminarily maps these two groups and the content of their digital information. Specifically, how key civil society groups use digital platforms to highlight, educate, inform, and coordinate action related to politics of indebtedness? What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of digital platforms in enabling a culture of resilience? Next, we analyse peer-to-peer information sharing of the indebted on two key digital forums (, specifically: How do peer-to-peer forums on indebtedness identify, inform, or enact resilience to get ‘out of debt’? To what degree to they identify digital and/or real world actions by civil society organizations as source of information, advice, advocacy? These four research questions seek to enhance our understanding of the transformative impact of digital technologies on the culture of indebtedness and its impact on wider communities.”

(Montgomerie et al. ‘Case for Support’)




Key Participants

Johnna Montgomerie (Goldsmiths, University of London) is a recently appointed Lecturer in Economics for the newly created Politics, Philosophy and Economics degree. Before that she was a researcher for six years at the ESRC-funded Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), University of Manchester. She is a national expert on household debt and Anglo-American financialisation, her recent publications include: “America’s debt safety-net” in Public Administration and with Dick Bryan, Randy Martin, Karel Williams “An important failure: knowledge limits and the financial crisis”, in Economy and Society.  She has worked with Trade Unions and civil society groups on issues related to personal debt and financial governance reform.

Joseph Deville (Goldsmiths, University of London) completed his ESRC funded PhD in 2011 at Goldsmiths, titled ‘The Landscape of Consumer Credit Default: Tracing Technologies of Market Attachment’. This follows the changing calculative landscapes that heavily indebted and defaulting consumer credit borrowers in the UK move through, from periods of borrowing, to managing debts, to being confronted by debt collectors. It also focuses on the problematic of debt default from the point of view of the collector, exploring the increasingly sophisticated technologies and techniques being used to attempt to convince debtors to repay. As part of this project he was a visiting scholar at the Centre on Organizational Innovation at Columbia University from January to March 2009. Currently, he is a post-doctoral researcher on the ERC funded ‘Organising Disaster’ project with Michael Guggenheim, Zuzana Hrdlickova and Luke Evans at Goldsmiths.

Dr. Daniel Tischer (Kellogg College Oxford) recently completed his PhD from Manchester Business School, “Embeddness of ethical banking in the United Kingdom” which was funded by the University of Manchester Humanities Endowment fund. This project used Social Network Analysis to map and analyse the UK ethical banking sector and conceptualize different forms of socio-cultural embeddness. He is currently finishing up a research fellowship at WZB Social Science Research Centre in Berlin, the results will be published in the first instance as a working paper “Ethical Banking as Countermovement to Financialised Banking.”

Mr. Carl Packman (Consultant, Greenwich, London) is a consultant, researcher, and writer. His first book Loan Sharks: The Rise and Rise of Payday Lending (2012) was published by Searching Finance and is the leading text on high-cost lending. Also, he has written for many publications including the Guardian, New Statesman, Jewish Chronicle and Credit Today Magazine. He makes regular media appearances with the BBC, Sky News, LBC Radio, and Channel 4. His next book, on the global growth of payday lenders, will be published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014. A regular at conferences and panel debates, he has worked with many organisations from think-tanks to charities and social enterprises in many different fields including children’s policy, education, health, and finance.

Liam Stanley (PhD Research Assistant, University of Birmingham) is currently completing his ESRC-funded PhD in political economy at POLSIS, University of Birmingham. This project uses focus groups with the public to analyse the politics of austerity in the UK. An article from this research, entitled ‘We’re reaping what we sowed’: Everyday crisis narratives and acquiescence to the age of austerity’, is forthcoming in New Political Economy. He has also published in Politics, Political Studies, and Parliamentary Affairs. In 2013 he was a visiting research fellow at Copenhagen Business School.

Samuel Roscoe (PhD Research Assistant, University of Manchester) is a second-year PhD candidate at the Manchester Business School, his project investigates the role of innovation in conceiving and constructing environmentally and socially sustainable supply-networks. His recent publications include a co-authored article with PI Johnna Montgomerie “Owning the Consumer: getting to the core of the Apple business model” in Accounting Forum and “Supply-Chain segmentation in the sporting goods industry” in International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications. Before doing his PhD, Samuel spent 14 years working for three different global corporations.

Final Report