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Enter microcredit: A new culture of women's empowerment in Rajasthan?



Most studies of microcredit programs for women have been concerned with the relationship between borrowers and men outside microcredit groups, such as husbands and moneylenders. In this article, I focus on the relationships forged between women within microcredit groups in a small village in Rajasthan, India. I argue that, rather than representing a new paradigm for women's empowerment, microcredit has become one of several possible platforms from which rural Rajasthani women articulate their concerns about caste, poverty, and the burden of raising daughters. Thus, microcredit is not a foreign economic form that is subsequently culturally inflected, nor does it represent the instrumentalization of culture; rather, microcredit, like other local frameworks such as evil eye, feminist organizing, and personal history, produces cultural possibility. [microcredit, Rajasthan, women's empowerment, capitalocentrism, caste relations]