Farah Qureshi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9964

Approve Date

October 29, 2019

Project Title

Qureshi, Farah (California, Irvine, U. of) "Financial Inclusion, Political Inclusion, and Social Belonging in Kenya"

Is financial inclusion equal to political inclusion? Is being a part of an economy the same as being a citizen? This project brings an anthropological eye to practices of economic and political inclusion in the context of the colonial, racialized, and diasporic histories that shape Kenya today. To do this, I focus on two distinct phenomena. The first is a political movement which centers on the political inclusion of Indians in the country as the “forty-fourth tribe.” This phenomena, while a significant step towards decolonization, presents its own challenges as Indians are not themselves unified, and only some want designation as a tribe. This process is complicated by the second phenomenon I am investigating: the rise of mobile money in Kenya. This corporate construction of digital payment platforms aims to financially include those excluded from formal financial institutions and thus draws in Kenyans from diverse tribes. I hypothesize that the first phenomena has led to a fracturing of local Indian identities, while the second consolidates a Kenyan identity but only among autochthonous Kenyans. How are these two concurrent, but distinct forms of inclusion operating in Kenya today shaping local understandings of participation and belonging?