FESA Seminar with Sohini Kar
Systemic Enfolding: Financial Risk and Capitalising on Poverty in India
Over the past decade, commercial or for-profit microfinance has grown rapidly in India under the auspices of both the government’s financial inclusion agenda, and the increasing recognition of profit at the bottom of the pyramid.
Microfinance institutions raise capital through loans from commercial banks, as well as private and public equity. As the poor are enfolded into global finance through these small loans, they are also drawn into the concerns of systemic risk.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Kolkata, India, this talk examines how financial risk comes to shape not just lending practices, but also how the poor are drawn into new circulations of capital.
Sohini Kar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. Trained as a socio-cultural anthropologist, Sohini Kar focuses on the impact of increasing financialization on poverty and development programs. She is completing a book project looking at commercial microfinance in India that is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Indian city of Kolkata. The book examines how lenders and borrowers of microfinance negotiate the divergent ethics of financial sustainability and locally constituted obligations of social relationships, and demonstrates how commercial microfinance tends to reinforce rather than challenge structural forms of inequality. She is currently working on a new project examining the impact of finance on health care financing for the poor in India.
Dr Kar has held a postdoctoral position as Harvard College Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, and holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Brown University, an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Economics and French from Columbia University.
The seminars will take place in the seminar room on the third floor, Frederiks gate 2 - entrance via southern backdoor on Kristian IVs gate - ring the doorbell for third floor.