Dealing with obligations: debt, microcredit and gender relations in matrilineal Offinso

Salifu, Jovia Haruna (2019). Dealing with obligations: debt, microcredit and gender relations in matrilineal Offinso. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the impact of microcredit on women’s livelihoods and relationships in Offinso, an Asante town in Ghana. Based on thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, it offers a detailed exploration of the various aspects of women’s experience of microcredit. The main argument is that microcredit is predicated on the notion of obligation. The evidence suggests that women’s involvement in economic activity, the nature of their relationships with lending institutions, and the outcomes of their interactions within the household, all involve the balancing of obligations to different persons and groups at the same time. Conceptualising women’s economic choices in terms of their obligations enables a better understanding of the pragmatic economic choices of the recipients of microcredit. However, the reference to obligation does not imply a total subordination of the individual to social control or moral order. Rather, individuals act in pursuit of their own ethical projects. Indeed, the economic choices of women are sometimes geared towards expanding their freedoms to act in ways that are contrary to traditional moral values about things like marriage and female modesty. This thesis therefore highlights the coexistence of moral obligation and ethical self-formation in the economic conduct of women.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Funders: Other
Other Funders: College Doctoral Scholarship
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman


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