Social collateral: Women and microfinance in Paraguay’s smuggling economy

Presenter/s: Australian Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS)

Event type: Book launch

Event date: Wednesday, 4 May 2016 - 3:45pm

Event venue: L.J Hume Centre, Copland Building (24) 1st Floor, Room 1171, ANU

Caroline Schuster's book Social Collateral: Women and Microfinance in Paraguay’s Smuggling Economy will be launched at this event hosted by the Australian Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS).

Microcredit is part of a global trend of financial inclusion that brings banking services, especially small loans, to the world’s poor. In this book, Caroline Schuster explores Paraguayan solidarity lending as a window into the tensions between social development and global finance.

Social Collateral tracks collective debt across the commercial society and smuggling economies at the Paraguayan border by examining group loans made to women by nonprofit development programs. These highly regulated loans are secured through mutual support and peer pressure—social collateral—rather than through physical collateral. This story of social collateral necessarily includes an interwoven account about the feminization of solidarity lending. At its core is an economy of gender—from pink-collar financial work, to men’s committees, to women smugglers. At stake are interdependencies that bind borrowers and lenders, financial technologies, and Paraguayan development in ways that structure both global inequality and global opportunity. The book is available for purchase here.

Caroline Schuster is a Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University researching debt, development, and gender in Latin America. Before joining the ANU, Caroline was a fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, where she pursued her research on microfinance in Paraguay. She completed her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago.

The launch will be followed by light food and beverages.

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