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Bodleian Social Science Library Guide: New Books

A short guide to the Library and our collections.

SSL Book of the Month

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.

Book of the Month – September 2019

Book of the month

Borrowing together: microfinance and cultivating social ties,
edited by Becky Yang Hsu.
Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Shelfmark: HG178.33.C6.HSU 2017

Our Book of the Month choice for September has been selected by John Southall, the 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 to find::

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.

We also have an electronic legal deposit copy of the title. Online access for this material is restricted to library computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries. A link to it can be found on SOLO.

You can check the previous Books of the Month on our blog.

Book cover image © the publisher.