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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

Chapter 2 - Credit and the Economic Structures of Insecurity

from Part I - Structures of Insecurity


Chapter 2 explains why middling people were so vulnerable to imprisonment through analysis of structures of credit and wealth. Drawing on debtors’ schedules, or inventories of wealth generated by the imprisonment process, the credit networks and patterns of wealth-holding of middling households are reconstructed. I argue that the portions of middle ranking wealth bound up in credit, changing structures of credit and middling people’s positions within credit networks rendered them vulnerable to failure. Analysis of how middling people held their wealth suggests that they did not lack assets, but rather faced problems of liquidity. Incarceration was the consequence of endemic structural insecurities.