Performativity and the politics of equipping for calculation: Constructing a global market for microfinance

  • Henriksen L
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Abstract

This article argues that the concept of performativity deepens our understanding of contemporary, expertise-driven processes of global economic governance. Tracing the World Bank’s role in constructing a global market for microfinance, the paper suggests that the World Bank was instrumental in translating selected parts of economic models into practice, thereby changing microfinance practices globally. Socio- technical networks centered on the World Bank were created to equip actors to become part of a global market, which incorporated not only donors but also commercial investors. The paper makes a critical inter- vention in the performativity literature by arguing for the need to take positional power and dominance in the socio-technical networks of International Organizations more seriously. This move improves our ability to specify how economic ideas and models are translated into practice in transnational arenas.

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