Creditors – History of a figure
as part of the DFG-Research Network „Doing Debt. Praxeology of Sovereign Debt in the long 20th Century“
Lending money, giving credit have always appeared as dubious practices. Not least, debates on the contemporary history of debt are heavily influenced by this critical perspective. While the fate of the „indebted man“ (Maurizio Lazzarato) has therefore been subject to recent research, the other side of the debt relation still seems widely undiscovered. Some efforts have been undertaken by ethnographic and sociological studies, scrutinizing the experiences and expectations of investors within current global markets and institutions. The planned project intends to take up these approaches, but expand the perspective to the public presence of creditors under changing debt conditions since the late 19th century. The empirical evidence will be embedded in the history of financial capitalism as a constructive process. As a result, creditor become visible as historical figures, subjectifying political, economic and legal conditions over time.
DFG-Research Network „Doing Debt. Praxeology of Sovereign Debt in the long 20th Century“
The network is studying practices of sovereign debt in historical perspective. It focuses concrete situations, decisions, and actor relations within the politics of debt throughout the long twentieth century. Special emphasis is put on their significance for the negotiation of shifting boundaries between „the state“ and „the market.“ By doing so, the network intends to avoid the determinism of many academic debates and to add specific insight into historical connections between financial practices, social knowledge, and economic effects. The network draws on the recently broad praxeological discussion, relating to its sensitivity for informal behaviour, for the materiality of practices, and for the intrinsic logics of actor knowledge. The interdisciplinary exchange between history, economics and social sciences enables a more sophisticated study of debt practices that takes their complexity and inconsistency into account. It aims at better understanding and explaining the processual character of soveign debt.
(For further information see www.doing-debt.de. )
Completed Research Project
State-Organisation in a State of Emergency. The Reich’s Ministry of Finance since 1919 (Habilitation)
The study deals with the history of ministerial bureaucracy and public finance in the German Reich after 1919 and aims at analyzing statehood between democracy and dictatorship. The ministry reveals itself as a space where state power was actively constructed – throughout an ambivalent period in German history, facing the aftermaths of the war, recurrent states of emergency as well as growing attempts at normality and, finally, the mobilization for another war.
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Middendorf
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF)
Am Neuen Markt 1
E-Mail: middendorf [at] zzf-potsdam.de