Narratives of risk and poor rural women’s (dis)-engagements with microcredit-based development in Eastern India
Geography and Anthropology
School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development
Microcredit has come under severe academic criticism in recent years, but the diversity of local practices and discourses that respond to and critique microcredit is still under-examined. By exploring emergent entrepreneurial practices and strategic loan avoidance in Darjeeling, India, expressed locally in narratives of “risk,” this article emphasizes the counter-hegemonic aspects of local engagements with microcredit. We contend that women are neither passive victims of nor willing participants in microcredit. They selectively appropriate the global discourse of microcredit to formulate a skeptical subject position that criticizes the practice. Simultaneously, they contest microcredit’s complicity with local patriarchies that exploit their labor and entrepreneurial activity. While critical of the indebtedness microcredit causes them, women value the entrepreneurial possibilities it opens up. We acknowledge the importance of the predominant Foucauldian–Marxist critiques of microcredit that posit it as another instance of “accumulation through dispossession,” but move beyond this view to focus on women’s creative engagement with microcredit.
Critique of Anthropology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)