Buying-on-credit as a social relation form: a historical- and micro-sociologıcal analysis
Socio-economic contexts, cultural patterns, demographic facts, and legal frames that encompass buying-on-credit relations all differ within early and late financialised countries. In this respect, a historical interpretation of the buying-on-credit pattern in those countries might suggest a divergence. However, a figurational and an in situ analysis of how creditworthiness, credit limit, and credit restructuring are evaluated at the point-of-sale in open account dealings, instalment sales and credit card purchases will point at common patterns. In this ground involvements and material aspects of the agencements such as debt books, instalment sale forms, and credit cards play a crucial role. A close analysis of those buying-on-credit patterns pave the way for an alternative interpretation of the grand narrative that suggests linear progress from traditional to modern, from informal to formal, from subjective to objective, from trust to distrust, from interpersonal trust to systemic trust, from personalisation to depersonalisation, and so on. In fact, there is a double movement that pushes the history to the formalisation, objectivisation, distrust, systemic trust, depersonalisation as well as to the informalisation, subjectivisation, trust, interpersonal trust, and personalisation. By relying on the figurational analysis of Elias, and in situ encounter analysis of Goffman, this study aims at opening the black box of buying-on-credit as a social relation form.