Microfinance in a Developed Welfare State: A Hybrid Technology for the Government of the Outcast

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Abstract

Although microfinance is often thought of as a tool to address poverty in developing countries, it is also being introduced in a number of countries in the developed world. The paper presents a qualitative study of the first year of the introduction of microfinance to address vulnerable groups in Sweden. Savings banks and nonprofit organisations collaborated in the introduction of microfinance as microcredit for micro-enterprise. The paper argues that the rationalities behind actors' participation in microfinance differed, with banks adopting a market rationality and nonprofits mainly a rationality of community empowerment. In line with a governmentality approach, the paper argues that the neoliberal market rationality dominating microcredit for micro-enterprise colonises the space of the communitarian aspect by turning the social into the personal. The paper's qualitative approach complements a governmentality analysis by highlighting the everyday resistance to the neoliberal financialisation of inclusion efforts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoforum
Volume51
Pages (from-to)27-36
ISSN0016-7185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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