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Unsanctioned Wealth; or, The Productivity of Debt in Northern Cameroon

Unsanctioned Wealth; or, The Productivity of Debt in Northern Cameroon his essay is a reflection on debt. Debt seems to be the flip side of wealth; that is, not having enough. And yet I would like to consider the ways in which debt is plenitude and not simply lack. Perhaps economic debt is not just the constraint of society, the rubber stamp of a certain social status: being liable, a liability. Evidently, if debt can be described as a social relation, indebtedness involves a certain sociability: the gift is a debt (Mauss 1950; Derrida 1991). However, the This essay was originally presented as a paper at the conference Commodities and Identities: The Social Life of Things Revisited, held in Amsterdam, 11 – 13 June 1999. I thank Saibou Issa for conducting two of the interviews that appear in the essay. I owe thanks to Peter Geschiere, John Comaroff, Béatrice Hibou, Mamadou Diouf, and Mick Taussig. I also thank the Social Science Research Council–John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Program on Peace and Security and the Ciriacy-Wantrup Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley. Public Culture 15(2): 211–237 Copyright © 2003 by Duke University Press Public Culture simple affirmation of the social constitution of debt relations and debt itself runs http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Culture Duke University Press

Unsanctioned Wealth; or, The Productivity of Debt in Northern Cameroon

Public Culture , Volume 15 (2) – Apr 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0899-2363
eISSN
1527-8018
DOI
10.1215/08992363-15-2-211
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

his essay is a reflection on debt. Debt seems to be the flip side of wealth; that is, not having enough. And yet I would like to consider the ways in which debt is plenitude and not simply lack. Perhaps economic debt is not just the constraint of society, the rubber stamp of a certain social status: being liable, a liability. Evidently, if debt can be described as a social relation, indebtedness involves a certain sociability: the gift is a debt (Mauss 1950; Derrida 1991). However, the This essay was originally presented as a paper at the conference Commodities and Identities: The Social Life of Things Revisited, held in Amsterdam, 11 – 13 June 1999. I thank Saibou Issa for conducting two of the interviews that appear in the essay. I owe thanks to Peter Geschiere, John Comaroff, Béatrice Hibou, Mamadou Diouf, and Mick Taussig. I also thank the Social Science Research Council–John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation Program on Peace and Security and the Ciriacy-Wantrup Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley. Public Culture 15(2): 211–237 Copyright © 2003 by Duke University Press Public Culture simple affirmation of the social constitution of debt relations and debt itself runs

Journal

Public CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2003

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