Possible questions to think about while writing
Question 1: warm up exercise
Please write down the first issue/idea/picture/feeling that comes in mind when you think or talk about your experience of indebtedness. What is the most important way that the debt affected your life? How?
Question 2: becoming indebted
Why did you decide to become indebted/get a mortgage in the first place? What were the dreams and aspirations linked to this undertaking? Why did you consider a loan as the best possible option? What affected your decision? Did you have any original hesitations? What were these? How were they overcome? Did you consult, family friends? Did you consult professionals? Who? Why?
Question 3: role of banks
How was your original interaction with the bank when you first approached them for a loan? What are the key highlights? Were there key contact points? Who were your contact points? At what level (clerk, bank manager, etc.)? Did they warn you or encourage you?
Question 4: overindebtedness/ the process of ‘going into red’
When and why (job loss, salary reduction etc.) did you start not being able to fulfill your monthly obligations? For example, was it incremental, sudden, did you try to sort it out, fight it etc.? What expenses have been more difficult for you to sustain? What/when was the turning point? How did not being able to pay happen in relation to the start of the crisis?
What has been the role of state policies and banking institutions in the process? Did certain measures make it easier or harder to deal with it? Have they made any difference?
Question 5: relations with yourself and others/ effects on self esteem and relations
What positive and negative affects has not being able to pay had on your family and friends relations?
How has it affected your relations with state agencies (central-regional-local) and the banking system?
How has experience of being indebted affected the way you perceive yourself as citizen, family member, economic subject? Has it been a debilitating experience? Emancipatory? In what ways?
Question 6: changing life plans
Were aspirations /aims initially linked to your original decision to take a loan affected? How? Negatively?
Did anything positive come out of the experience?
How were your life aspirations affected more broadly? For example, your future plans: education, healthcare/ caring for elderly, for children, for oneself, entertainment, travel, etc.
How were your life aspirations affected in relation to housing?
Question 7: getting support
What were both the help and the obstacles you found along the way of dealing with your debt? Where did they come from? (NGOs, family, state, community, banks, social movements, etc.). How did you find out about where help was available? If not, why did you not seek help? Were these organizations or contacts helpful?
Question 8: debt as a collective issue
How has being indebted affected your relation to others as citizens? Do you think you are more or less politically active /aware? More or less identified with a common cause? Do you feel indebtedness as a personal or a collective issue?
Question 9: retrospection
If you were to do it again, how would you do it? Would you do it at all? If not, how would you finance your needs (housing, family needs or personal expenses)? Which factors you think have been more determinant in getting indebted? Which ones in dealing with indebtedness? Who do you blame? Why?
Question 10: reflection on diary and research
What are your thoughts about participating in the research and writing this diary? Has it been useful or indifferent, and how? Was it stressful, bizarre or conforming, empowering? Was it boring, tiring or uplifting, exciting?
What do you understand by the term “mortgaged lives”? What does the phrase “biopolitics of constructing indebted subjects” mean to you?