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Governing development: neoliberalism, microcredit, and rational economic woman

Governing development: neoliberalism, microcredit, and rational economic woman This paper addresses the emergence of microcredit programmes as a preferred strategy for poverty alleviation world-wide. Taking the paradigmatic case of Nepal, it engages a genealogical approach to trace how Nepalese planners' enduring concerns about rural development intersect in surprising (and gendered) ways with donors' present focus on deepening financial markets. In the resulting microcredit model, the onus for rural lending is devolved from commercial banks to subsidized 'rural development banks' and women borrowers become the target of an aggressive 'selfhelp' approach to development. As a governmental strategy, microcredit thus constitutes social citizenship and women's needs in a manner consistent with neoliberalism. Drawing on ethnographic research, the paper also considers the progressive and regressive possibilities in the articulation of such constructed subjectivities with local cultural ideologies and social processes. Such an investigation can in turn provide a foundation for articulating a more normative agenda for development studies – grounded in the perspectives of those in subordinate social locations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Economy and Society Taylor & Francis

Governing development: neoliberalism, microcredit, and rational economic woman

Economy and Society , Volume 30 (1): 20 – Jan 1, 2001
20 pages

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References (52)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1469-5766
eISSN
0308-5147
DOI
10.1080/03085140020019070
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper addresses the emergence of microcredit programmes as a preferred strategy for poverty alleviation world-wide. Taking the paradigmatic case of Nepal, it engages a genealogical approach to trace how Nepalese planners' enduring concerns about rural development intersect in surprising (and gendered) ways with donors' present focus on deepening financial markets. In the resulting microcredit model, the onus for rural lending is devolved from commercial banks to subsidized 'rural development banks' and women borrowers become the target of an aggressive 'selfhelp' approach to development. As a governmental strategy, microcredit thus constitutes social citizenship and women's needs in a manner consistent with neoliberalism. Drawing on ethnographic research, the paper also considers the progressive and regressive possibilities in the articulation of such constructed subjectivities with local cultural ideologies and social processes. Such an investigation can in turn provide a foundation for articulating a more normative agenda for development studies – grounded in the perspectives of those in subordinate social locations.

Journal

Economy and SocietyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2001

Keywords: Microcredit; Development; Rural Finance; Governmentality; Gender; Nepal

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