Does microcredit “empower”? Reflections on the grameen bank debate

Human Studies 31 (1):27 - 41 (2008)
Recent debates about the Grameen Bank’s microlending practices depict participating female borrowers as having fundamentally empowering or disempowering experiences. I argue that this discursive framework may be too reductive: it can conceal how technique and technology simultaneously facilitate relations of dependence and independence; and it can diminish our capacity to understand and assess innovative development initiatives.
Keywords Development ethics  Empowerment  Phenomenology  Globalization  Grameen Bank  Mobile phones
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