CSWS Faculty Affiliate Lamia Karim Co-Chairs SAR Seminar

School for Advanced Research (SAR)—Microfinance.

Microfinance: Assessing the Economic and Cultural Implications of Microfinance on Poverty from Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Research Team Seminar

September 25–27, 2012
School for Advanced Research (SAR)
Santa Fe, N.M.

  • Milford Bateman, Chair Visiting Professor of Economics, University of Juraj Dobrila Pula, Croatia and Freelance Consultant
  • Lamia Karim, Chair Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, and author of the highly-acclaimed book Microfinance and Its Discontents: Women in Debt in Bangladesh (University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

This research team seminar will examine the popular narrative that microfinance has achieved success in many countries. The focus will be to assess the impact of microfinance on the community, rather than just upon a set of poor individuals or women. The seminar will contribute to developing an alternative narrative explaining not just the economies of the microfinance model, but also the ideological and social aspects that shape and sustain it. The notion of the individual entrepreneur itself is a novel concept in many parts of the world where social identity is relational. Thus, the seminar will examine how microfinance and entrepreneurial models create new meanings for people, and how these meanings are understood, transformed, and resisted in different contexts. To further this research, it will be necessary to devise rigorous survey techniques and methodologies that avoid bias in any future evaluation of microfinance, which in turn will provide the basis for new research designs to be implemented by the team.

Sponsored by National Science Foundation. The School for Advanced Research (SAR) is the leading research center for anthropologists in the United States.