As the problem of debt grows more and more urgent in light of the central role it plays in neoliberal capitalism, scholars have analyzed debt using numerous approaches: historical analysis, legal arguments, psychoanalytic readings, claims for reparations in postcolonial debates, and more. Contributors to this special issue of differences argue that these diverse approaches presuppose a fundamental connection between indebtedness and narrative. They see debt as a promise that refers to the future—deferred repayment that purports to make good on a past deficit—which implies a narrative in a way that other forms of exchange may not. The authors approach this intertwining of debt and narration from the perspectives of continental philosophy, international law, the history of slavery, comparative literature, feminist critique, and more.
Contributors: Arjun Appadurai, Anthony Bogues, Emmanuel Bouju, Silvia Federici, Mikkel Krause Frantzen, Raphaelle Guidée, Odette Lienau, Catherine Malabou, Vincent Message, Laura Odello, Peter Szendy, Frederik Tygstrup