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Wed, Jun 19, 2024

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Strategic Framing Work(s): How Microcredit Loans Facilitate Anti-Witch Hunt Movements  (Academic)

This study looks at how the movement for microcredit loans is being strategically used to mobilize women toward anti-witch hunt campaigns in a tea plantation community in the marginalized Dooars tribal region of India. Micro credit loans are used in a carefully calculated manner by activists to create a community of women who are viewed as powerful participants in the anti-witch hunt campaign in the area. Economic ties create social capacity that is intentionally directed toward mobilization for social change. Specifically, we focus on the following problem: How does a movement cohere and persist in pursuing two very disparate goals? Why would women, who participate in the non-contentious and low risk micro-credit schemes for improving the livelihood of their individual households, be motivated enough to undertake the risks and social costs associated with mobilizing against witch hunts that are spearheaded by men, and in which powerful social and political forces in the community are often complicit? Also, the tea plantation is in a community with a long standing tradition of witch hunts. This is fueled by local beliefs in the existence of witches, the divining powers of the witch doctor, and the desperate need of impoverished and illiterate individuals to make sense of mysterious, often life-threatening ailments that are commonplace given the lack of medical facilities. Our findings suggest that the women not only continued to coalesce around the micro-credit enterprise, they also participated in the anti-witch hunt campaign. While they have not always been able to collectively rally to save the women accused as "witches", they have intervened in many instances to produce some remarkable victories for the movement.

Location: 201 International Center
Price: free
Sponsor: Asian Studies Center
Contact: phone pic 517-353-1680