Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationPrinceton U.
Grant numberGr. 10226
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleKaur, Navjit (Princeton U.) "Refusal to bank: Futures of Subaltern Finance in Post-colonial Punjab, India "
This project is an ethnography of unbanking among women in Malerkotla, Punjab, India. In a context of state-mandated digitized banking, following the elimination of currency as legal tender in 2016, I examine how the refusal to bank has become a crucial terrain of political subjectivity in India. By ethnographically tracing saving practices of women outside the bank as they convey value across channels mediated by objects, kin and religious shrines I ask, what informs this refusal to bank among women at a moment when post-colonial Indian state and global monetary organizations advocate banking as a means of financial inclusion and empowerment? If savings are animated by the wish to secure a future, what kind of futures are imagined, economized and contested by the population of Punjab engaged in active disavowal of banking? Moving through what I call capillary spaces of the household, neighborhoods, markets and Punjab National Bank, my research will explore logics, social relations and affects entailed in everyday practices of saving, emergent intimacies of belonging and dependency within the nation-state and the materialization of new financial relations among women.