Microaccountability and biopolitics: Microfinance in a Sri Lankan village

Chandana Gnanapriya Alawattage, Cameron Graham (Corresponding Author), Danture Wickramasinghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Based on a micro-level study of microfinance, this paper explores how basic accounting technologies and interpersonal accountability are used to make lending to poor village women profitable and low risk. We argue that “microaccountability,” our term for the structuring and formalization of convivial relationships into a capillary system of accountability, must be
recognized as a central tool of social governance under neoliberalism. Our field research in Sri Lanka allows us to analyse how microaccountability is employed by for-profit banks to create from poor villagers a legion of bankable individual entrepreneurs, trained to invigilate each other’s savings and credit behaviours. Using the theoretical lens of biopolitics, we show
how microaccountability enables the extension of the finance industry into untapped sectors of the global population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-60
Number of pages23
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Early online date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • microaccountability
  • biopolitics
  • microfinance
  • neoliberalism
  • Sri Lanka


Dive into the research topics of 'Microaccountability and biopolitics: Microfinance in a Sri Lankan village'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this