Human Studies

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

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

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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