The Use of Consumer Credit and Its Limitations in Postwar Economies

Washington, DC
German Historical Institute
05.02.2010 - 06.02.2010
Jan Logemann

We are looking for contributors to a panel on the experience of borrowing and the everyday practice of credit as it affected various groups of consumers. The panel will be part of an interdisciplinary workshop on the recent history of consumer credit in comparative perspective. The workshop will take place at the German Historical Institute in Washington, Feb 5.-6. 2010.

Consumers experienced credit on an everyday level in a myriad of ways and this panel seeks to complicate the success story of modern institutional consumer credit. Debt could play a disciplining as well as a liberating role. Credit communicated social standing in the context of smaller communities as well as within a growing and increasingly anonymous mass consumer society; credit scoring and rating agencies have replaced older systems of establishing “credit-worthiness.” Still, various “traditional” forms of credit have continued to coexist with innovations like credit cards and home-equity loans. Access to credit could highlight social inequalities and patterns of discrimination for some while for others it could, e.g. in form of a mortgage, offer home-ownership and upward social mobility. Can we really speak of a democratization of credit in the later part of the twentieth century and, if so, how do we assess the implications in light of the current crises?

Possible topics for papers can include, but are not limited to:
- Credit rating systems
- Gendered uses of credit
- Credit discrimination
- Community credit networks

We welcome submissions from various disciplines and a wide variety of countries. Please, send a 300-500 word proposal as well as a current CV to Jan Logemann ( by July 1st.


Jan Logemann

GHI Washington

The Use of Consumer Credit and Its Limitations in Postwar Economies, 05.02.2010 – 06.02.2010 Washington, DC, in: H-Soz-Kult, 19.06.2009, <>.