This project gathers the experiences and feelings of people under forty years old who are in, or have been in, some form of debt. Their narratives will be used to examine the changing social, economic and cultural role of debt in today’s economic climate. The research project rejects the popular notion that personal debt is a result of individual financial mismanagement or irresponsible lifestyles. Instead, it takes as its starting point the premise that debt has become a normal part of life as wages have stagnated and living costs inflated.
Using depth interviews, research participants will be interviewed about the aspects of their lives that relate to their debt, such as work, housing, family, relationships and education. All participants have had some experience of debt, whether this comes in the form of student loans, credit cards, mortgages, overdrafts, bank loans, bankruptcy, payday loans or lending agreements made within the family. They might see their debt as a problem, but they might not. The size of the debt does not matter.