Social Capital as Collateral: Banking on the Poor


  • Esayas Bekele Geleta

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    • This article was generated from a PhD thesis undertaken and defended at University College Cork (December 2010). The author would like to acknowledge that the PhD research was funded primarily by the Faculty of Arts, University College Cork, PhD research scholarship, and in part by two international Irish nongovernmental institutions, Self Help International and Vita. Acknowledgment is also due to Dr. Kathy Glavanis-Grantham (my PhD thesis supervisor) for her comments and sustained encouragement in the course of this study. I thank the editor and the reviewers of this journal for their constructive criticisms and remarks on the earlier versions of the article.
    • Esayas B Geleta is currently a lecturer in sociology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He previously held a teaching fellow position at the University of Limerick, Ireland, and a part-time lecturer position at University College Cork, Ireland. He also worked as an assistant editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology (IJS). The key areas of his current research include globalization, micro finance, the sociology of work, the sociology of human rights, and the sociology of race and ethnicity. He has previously studied at University College Cork (Ireland), where in December 2010 he completed his PhD in Sociology. Email:


This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 73, Issue 2, 443, Article first published online: 2 April 2014


Group-based micro finance is a field in which the place of social capital in development has been given a central focus. The formation of micro group is based on tapping into the information that group members have about each other, thus relying on social capital. Group-based micro finance has also been explained as a means of creating social capital. This article, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's conception of social capital, in contrast to the widely accepted notion of it, critically examines the link between social capital and group-based micro finance. It argues that group-based MF is not favored by the marginalized poor, and it serves as a mechanism in the production and reproduction of social conflict and inequality.