Elettra Stimilli on Debt and Guilt: A political philosophy

At the seminar, we will be discussing two chapters from Elettra Stimilli, Debt and Guilt (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). Seminar participants should email Stefan Schwarzkopf (ssc.mpp@cbs.dk) to obtain a copy of the readings

The book explores the issue of debt and how it affects our lives is becoming more and more urgent. The "Austerity" model has been the prevalent European economic policies of recent years led by the "German model". Elettra Stimilli draws upon contemporary philosophy, psychology and theology to argue that austerity is built on the idea that we somehow deserve to be punished and need to experience guilt in order to take full account of our economic sins. Following thinkers such as Max Weber, Walter Benjamin and Michel Foucault, Debt and Guilt provides a startling examination of the relationship between contemporary politics and economics and how we structure our inner lives. 

Elettra Stimilli is a researcher at the Department of Philosophy at the “Sapienza Università di Roma”. Currently she is editor of the series “Filosofia e Politica” and “MaterialiIT” by the publishing house Quodlibet; she is part of the scientific committee of the book series “Political Theologies”, by Bloomsbury and she is part of the editorial board of the journal “Filosofia Politica”. She is author of numerous essays that focus on the relationship between politics and religion, with particular attention to the contemporary thought. In 2011 she published “Il debito del vivente. Ascesi e capitalism”o (which won a major italian award - “Premio Feronia” 2013 – and which is published in English as: “The Debt of the Living”, Suny Press, New York 2017. She also published the only existing monography on Jacob Taubes: “Jacob Taubes. Sovranità e tempo messianico” (2004). She translated into Italian and edited many works of this author, in particular “Jacob Taubes, Il prezzo del messianesimo. Una revisione critica delle tesi di Gershom Scholem”, Quodlibet, Macerata 2017, of which she has also edited the German edition: “Jacob Taubes, Der Preis des Messianismus: Briefe von Jacob Taubes an Gershom Scholem und andere Materialen”, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2006. In 2015 she wrote the book “Debito e colpa” (Ediesse), which is published in English: “Debt and Guilt”, Bloosmbury, London 2018.