Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Risky Business: Agricultural Insurance and Morality in Maharashtra

Part of ‘Moralising Misfortune: A Comparative Anthropology of Commercial Insurance’, an ERC Consolidator project of Erik Bähre.

Tim van de Meerendonk

Moralising Misfortune: A comparative ethnography of commercial insurance

What moral concerns do people have when they encounter the financial sector in their everyday life? This question will be studied in six countries: Brazil, Italy, India, The Netherlands, South Africa and the USA. The project explicitly deals with highly personal and intimate encounters with financial globalisation. This project examines commercial insurance within the context of broader transactional systems. It examines private insurance as a form of solidarity that is connected with other solidarities, for example among family members, social groups, the (welfare) state, or within voluntary associations.

PhD project: Risky Business: Agricultural insurance and morality in Maharashtra

One cannot read or speak about farming in India without encountering widespread notions of rural distress and agricultural crisis. This idea, that farmers are in an existential state of precarity sits uncomfortably in the national consciousness as a scandalous reality of contemporary India. Agricultural insurance aims to alleviate some of the problems that farmers are facing and in its wake reshapes rural relations and assumptions about farming as a livelihood. This research engages ethnographically with the significance surrounding this form of commercial insurance as it expands into new territory.

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