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Social Capital, Microfinance, and the Politics of Development

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  • Katherine Rankin

Abstract

Policy makers increasingly rely on theories of social capital to fashion development interventions that mobilize local social networks in the alleviation of poverty. The potential of such theory lies in its recognition of the social dimensions of economic growth. This recognition has inspired some innovative approaches to development, such as the now-popular microfinance model. In assessing the implications of these recent developments for feminist objectives of social transformation, this paper evaluates prevailing ideas about social capital (rooted in rational choice theory) against the grain of three alternative approaches: Marxian social capital theories ( A la Pierre Bourdieu), neo-Foucauldian governmentality studies, and my feminist ethnographic research on the social embeddedness of economic practice in a merchant community of Nepal. The paper concludes by bringing these critical insights to bear on possibilities for designing microfinance programs - and practicing a kind of development more generally - that could engage women's solidarity to challenge dominant gender ideologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine Rankin, 2002. "Social Capital, Microfinance, and the Politics of Development," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 1-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:8:y:2002:i:1:p:1-24
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700210125167
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle Guérin, 2014. "Juggling with debt, social ties, and values the everyday use of microcredit in rural South India," Post-Print ird-01471734, HAL.
    2. Arno Tausch & Almas Heshmati, 2012. "Migration, Openness and the Global Preconditions of "Smart Development"," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 1-62.
    3. Beard, Victoria A., 2007. "Household Contributions to Community Development in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 607-625, April.
    4. Isabelle Guérin & Bert D'Espallier & G. Venkatasubramanian, 2015. "The Social Regulation of Markets: Why Microcredit Fails to Promote Jobs in Rural South India," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1277-1301, November.
    5. Esayas Bekele Geleta, 2014. "Social Capital as Collateral: Banking on the Poor," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(1), pages 108-125, January.
    6. Togba, Edith Leadaut, 2012. "Microfinance and households access to credit: Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 473-486.
    7. Supriya Garikipati & Susan Johnson & Isabelle Guérin & Ariane Szafarz, 2017. "Microfinance and Gender: Issues, Challenges and The Road Ahead," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 641-648, May.
    8. Stuart, Guy, 2006. "Caste Embeddedness and Microfinance: Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Andhra Pradesh, India," Working Paper Series rwp06-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    9. Morvant-Roux, Solène & Guérin, Isabelle & Roesch, Marc & Moisseron, Jean-Yves, 2014. "Adding Value to Randomization with Qualitative Analysis: The Case of Microcredit in Rural Morocco," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 302-312.
    10. Tanima, Farzana Aman & Brown, Judy & Dillard, Jesse, 2020. "Surfacing the political: Women’s empowerment, microfinance, critical dialogic accounting and accountability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    11. Begoña Gutiérrez Nieto & Carlos Serrano-Cinca, 2019. "20 Years of Research in Microfinance: An Information Management Approach," Working Papers CEB 19-005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Hanrahan, Kelsey B., 2015. "Living Care-Fully: The Potential for an Ethics of Care in Livelihoods Approaches," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 381-393.
    13. Mark Kear, 2016. "Peer lending and the subsumption of the informal," Journal of Cultural Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 261-276, June.
    14. Suwastika Naidu, 2016. "Does Human Development Influence Women’s Labour Force Participation Rate? Evidences from the Fiji Islands," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 1067-1084, July.
    15. Quanda Zhang & Alberto Posso, 2017. "Microfinance and gender inequality: cross-country evidence," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(20), pages 1494-1498, November.
    16. Rao, Smriti, 2008. "Reforms with a Female Face: Gender, Liberalization, and Economic Policy in Andhra Pradesh, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1213-1232, July.
    17. Zhang, Yanlong & Zhou, Xiaoyu & Lei, Wei, 2017. "Social Capital and Its Contingent Value in Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Western China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 350-361.
    18. Md Aslam Mia & V. G. R. Chandran, 2016. "Measuring Financial and Social Outreach Productivity of Microfinance Institutions in Bangladesh," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 505-527, June.
    19. Woodson, Thomas & Alcantara, Julia Torres & do Nascimento, Milena Silva, 2019. "Is 3D printing an inclusive innovation?: An examination of 3D printing in Brazil," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 80, pages 54-62.
    20. Dilruba Khanam & Muhammad Mohiuddin & Asadul Hoque & Olaf Weber, 2018. "Financing micro-entrepreneurs for poverty alleviation: a performance analysis of microfinance services offered by BRAC, ASA, and Proshika from Bangladesh," Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer;UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship, vol. 8(1), pages 1-17, December.
    21. Marco Tavanti, 2013. "Before Microfinance: The Social Value of Microsavings in Vincentian Poverty Reduction," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(4), pages 697-706, February.
    22. Lauren A. Hayes, 2017. "The hidden labor of repayment: Women, credit, and strategies of microenterprise in northern Honduras," Economic Anthropology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 22-36, January.
    23. Susan Hanson, 2009. "Changing Places Through Women's Entrepreneurship," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(3), pages 245-267, July.
    24. van Staveren, I.P., 2002. "Social capital : what is in it for feminist economics?," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19126, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    25. Theresa Mannah-Blankson, 2018. "Gender Inequality and Access to Microfinance: Evidence from Ghana," Journal of African Development, African Finance and Economic Association (AFEA), vol. 20(2), pages 21-33.

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