Relative indemnity: risk, insurance, and kinship in Indian microfinance
J R Anthropol Inst (2017)
With the growth of commercial microfinance in India, the poor have been increasingly enfolded into circuits of global finance. In making these collateral-free loans, however, microfinance institutions (MFIs) engage in new forms of risk management. While loans are made to women with the goal of economic and social empowerment, MFIs require male kin to serve as guarantors. Drawing on fieldwork in the city of Kolkata, I argue that through the requirement of male guarantors, MFIs hedge on kinship, even as they speculate on the bottom of the pyramid as a new market of accumulation.
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