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Microfinance and Its DiscontentsWomen in Debt in Bangladesh$
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Lamia Karim

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816670949

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816670949.001.0001

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The Research Terrain

The Research Terrain

(p.35) Chapter 2 The Research Terrain
Microfinance and Its Discontents

Lamia Karim

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter analyzes the means by which the Grameen Bank and associated NGOs have obtained informal sovereignty—a phenomenon the author terms, “NGO governmentality.” Under the microfinance revolution, women are portrayed as autonomous entities and savvy entrepreneurs, though the ethnographic studies conducted by the author reveal a more depressing reality. NGOs tend to enforce policies and practices that dictate the financial habits of their clients—usually the desperately poor—and limit what they may or may not do with the money and services they were provided. These organizations also make use of peer pressure and gender roles to manipulate the behaviors of women in order to achieve NGO objectives.

Keywords:   peer pressure, gender roles, ethnographic studies, Grameen Bank, NGO governmentality, microfinance revolution, sovereignty

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