How Development Projects Persist: Everyday Negotiations with Guatemalan NGOs
Women and Workers Responding to Bootstrap Development
This chapter focuses on the spaces that Namaste creates in carrying out its activities as concrete sites where developers and beneficiaries enact and transform bootstrap development and where attempts to cultivate entrepreneurial subjects are undertaken and reinterpreted. It highlights how women’s initial interactions with Namaste inform their perception that Namaste is more or less equivalent to the many other microfinance institutions (MFIs) that target women, which in turn shapes their expectations of the NGO and their participation. Women see Namaste as their participation as a “cost” to access a loan. They thus participate at minimal, relatively uniform levels. Namaste attempts to cultivate “good entrepreneurial subjects” by using future loans as incentives and explicit lessons about “good” behavior. Women in turn respond by exercising various forms of agency: hidden transcripts, guile, and accommodation. The chapter concludes by connecting the interactions unfolding within Namaste to its mixed outcomes.