Lisa Adkins presented a keynote address for the 2015 conference of the Westermarck Society – the Finnish Sociological Association at the University of Helsinki, 5-6 March 2015. Her keynote was on Speculative Futures in the Time of Debt.
Abstract for the keynote lecture:
This lecture concerns the temporality of debt. Against the widespread claim that the society of debt has emptied out futures via the elevation of the promise to pay to a total social fact, I suggest that the time of securitized debt is speculative in form. Thus, in the time of securitized debt, pasts, presents and futures do not stand in a pre-set relation to one another, but are open to a constant state or revision: they may be drawn and redrawn, assembled and disassembled, set and reset. I track this time in changing schedules of household and personal debt – and crucially in the logics of accumulation via securitized debt – to argue that far from emptying out futures debt society demands subjects who must constantly adjust to recalibrations of pasts, presents and futures as well as to changes in the relations between and across these states.
Photo: Inka Lähteenaro