Human Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 27–41 | Cite as

Does Microcredit “Empower”? Reflections on the Grameen Bank Debate

  • Evan Selinger
Research Paper


Recent debates about the Grameen Bank’s microlending practices depict participating female borrowers as having fundamentally empowering or disempowering experiences. I argue that this discursive framework may be too reductive: it can conceal how technique and technology simultaneously facilitate relations of dependence and independence; and it can diminish our capacity to understand and assess innovative development initiatives.


Development ethics Empowerment Phenomenology Globalization Grameen Bank Mobile phones 



I am grateful to the following people for their assistance with this essay: Richard Dietrich, Don Ihde, Verna Gehring, Robert Rosenberger, David Suits, and Katie Terezakis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRochester Institute of TechnologyRochesterUSA

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