Microcredit, Gender and Neoliberal Development in Bangladesh

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7670-1
Title: Microcredit, Gender and Neoliberal Development in Bangladesh
Author: Uddin, Mohammad Jasim
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies, Sociology
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2013-02-20
Belongs to series: Publications of the Department of Social Research 2013:2 - URN:ISSN:1798-9132
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7670-1
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/37948
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to shed light on microcredit policies and practices, and attempts to contribute to the understanding of how microcredit relates to the lives of the borrowers in rural Bangladesh. More specifically, this study delves into whether the group-based micro-loans that are channeled through women facilitate social capital, reconstruct gender relations and provide a way out of poverty at the village level in Bangladesh. The empirical data of this study was collected from 151 married women microcredit borrowers of two project areas of the Grameen Bank (GB) and two project areas of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) in the Sylhet District, Bangladesh where both the GB and the BRAC have been operating micro-loans over a period of several years. The ethnographic description relates to the questions of how NGOs use neoliberal policies and credit on the one hand, and also how local people appropriate credit on the other hand. I have endeavoured to contribute to understanding the focuses of microcredit initiatives within the context of Foucault s disciplinary power (1977) and governmentality (1978, 1979, 1988) against the background of neoliberalism. I stress the power relations, implications of enforced institutional discipline of microcredit organizations, and vulnerability of microcredit borrowers. By applying Scott s notions of hidden resistance (1990) and weapons of the weak (1985), I have focused on how microcredit borrowers criticize rules of programmes and procedures out of earshot and out of sight of the officials of the NGOs. Following the entitlement approach detailed by Sen (1981, 1987, 1999) I have also addressed the mechanism whereby poor people take credit year after year and get further mired in debt. Fundamentally, the objective of this study has rotated around some complex questions: To what extent microcredit programmes, a product of neoliberalism and the capitalist world system, intersect and connect with the local women borrowers to facilitate social capital, women s empowerment and poverty alleviation in rural Bangladesh? Does the group lending tenet really work, or is it only a process of getting access to credit for the borrowers or does it fulfil a governing strategy of microcredit organizations to the borrowers in accordance with the market rationality? Are women microcredit borrowers really rational economic actors who invest credit themselves at the local level? Is credit through women a policy of women s empowerment or a project of covert regulative practice? Are the microcredit borrowers undergoing the win-win situation of increased financial outcomes and enhanced well-being that microcredit programmes have pledged to offer? My work draws attention to what microcredit NGOs aim to change, and the techniques they apply. My study is an analysis of what microcredit initiatives fail to do: mobilize social capital, reconstruct gender relations, and alleviate poverty. The study argues that microcredit can be regard as a form of governmentality that is exercised via a generalised control over people s behaviour and over their beliefs, and by spreading the values of entrepreneurship with the market as the solver of all ills. Whilst the much lauded microcredit organizations (such as GB, BRAC) push neoliberal ideologies onto rural borrowers, they have failed because many borrowers cannot yield sufficient profit and or use credit for the purposes for which it is supposed to be used for. The package of training and consciousness raising lessons that originally went alongside the GB or BRAC microcredit programme is now missing from their rural operations. Therefore, ensuring a win-win situation that microcredit originally promised has been failed. Microcredit organizations reinforce pre-existing kinship and gender structures, and there has been a wide scale mission creep, which has turned micro-lending NGOs into money-lending businesses or installment collecting organizations.Ei saatavilla
Subject: sociology
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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