Our Book of the Month choice for September

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

Borrowing together: microfinance and cultivating social ties

by Becky Yang Hsu

Cambridge University Press, 2017

Shelfmark: HG178.33.C6.HSU 2017



Our Book of the Month choice for September was selected by John Southall, Subject Consultant for Economics and Sociology.

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because of the way it uses field research to explore the social relations and cultural dimensions underpinning microfinance schemes – in this instance in rural China.

Book Overview

The author examines the social aspects of one of the most intriguing elements of group-lending microfinance: social collateral. She investigates the details of the social relationships among borrowers and between borrowers and lenders, finding that these relationships are the key that explains the outcomes of a number of schemes in in rural China.

However she also notes the limitations of microfinance and how in many ways it has not worked in the ways it was expected. In the end she concludes that loans are not simply understood as capital to purchase equipment, but as ways of cultivating social ties and developing a greater sense of self amongst participants.


“… a book that will appeal to sociologists of money, scholars of Chinese village life and microfinance professionals.”

Supriva Singh, British Journal of Sociology

“… of particular interest to scholars interested in questions of credit/debt, development, economic sociology, and Asian studies.”

Maryann Bylander, American Journal of Sociology

Where can I find it?

We have one copy of the book which is for library use only. It is currently located on top of our New Books Display Area (located around the corner from our Library Issue Desk). You are welcome to remove it from the display to take a look at it. The shelfmark for the title is HG178.33.C6.HSU 2017

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

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