Skip to content

Online ordering will be unavailable on Saturday 10 December 2022, 0800-1800 GMT.

To place an order, please contact Customer Services.

UK/ROW +44 (0) 1223 326050 | US 1 800 872 7423 or 1 212 337 5000 | Australia/New Zealand 61 3 86711400 or 1800 005 210, New Zealand 0800 023 520

Register Sign in Wishlist

Credit to Capabilities
A Sociological Study of Microcredit Groups in India


Award Winner
  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107434479


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Credit to Capabilities focuses on the controversial topic of microcredit's impact on women's empowerment and, especially, on the neglected question of how microcredit transforms women's agency. Based on interviews with hundreds of economically and socially vulnerable women from peasant households, this book highlights the role of the associational mechanism - forming women into groups that are embedded in a vast network and providing the opportunity for face-to-face participation in group meetings - in improving women's capabilities. This book reveals the role of microcredit groups in fostering women's social capital, particularly their capacity of organizing collective action for public goods and for protecting women's welfare. It argues that, in the Indian context, microcredit groups are becoming increasingly important in rural civil societies. Throughout, the book maintains an analytical distinction between married women in male-headed households and women in female-headed households in discussing the potentials and the limitations of microcredit's social and economic impacts.

    • Focuses on the hot topic of microcredit and women's empowerment
    • A qualitative (interview-based) study, with four hundred women interviewed
    Read more


    • Winner of the 2015 Outstanding Book Award, Sociology of Development Section, American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Microcredit has been a major interest of development economists for years, given their effectiveness as an engine of upward mobility among the poor. Paromita Sanyal's remarkable book gives us a different lens on their importance. She reveals the critical role of microcredit in enabling women to build independent lives even in the face of traditional suppression. This engaging study should be read by students, scholars and policy makers who want to know how this strategy can make a profound difference for women in developing countries.' Katherine Newman, Provost, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged

    'The remarkable global phenomenon of microcredits has finally found its wise analyst. Drawing from hundreds of vivid interviews with Indian women, Paromita Sanyal offers bold explanations of when, how, and in what ways microcredits enhance female autonomy. Credit to Capabilities contributes fresh insights to the study of economic activity and household gender dynamics.' Viviana A. Zelizer, Lloyd Cotsen '50 Professor of Sociology, Princeton University, and author of The Purchase of Intimacy and Economic Lives

    'Credit to Capabilities is a major contribution to our understanding of the social impact of microcredit on the ability of women to gain autonomy in various spheres of their lives. This qualitative study adds considerable nuances to existing analyses on the topic by parsing out who benefits, when, how much, and how. Sanyal's book is of broad sociological significance as a model for approaching agency and social change. A must-read for students of gender, development, economic sociology, family, deliberation, and much more.' Michele Lamont, Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107434479
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 1 map 15 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The global trajectory of microcredit
    2. Agency
    3. Converting loans into leverage
    4. The power of participation
    5. Microcredit and collective action
    6. Culture and microcredit: why socio-religious dimensions matter
    7. Loans and well-being
    8. Interpreting microcredit: beyond the salvation/exploitation alternatives
    9. Epilogue: the future of microcredit.

  • Author

    Paromita Sanyal, Cornell University, New York
    Paromita Sanyal is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Cornell University, New York. Her research interests include development, gender, economic sociology, and participatory forms of governance like deliberative democracy (gram sabha in India). She has been previously affiliated with Harvard University, Massachusetts and the Development Research Group at the World Bank.


    • Winner of the 2015 Outstanding Book Award, Sociology of Development Section, American Sociological Association

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.