The paper reviews different ways of telling the history of microfinance. We first contrast a mainstream and mostly positive narrative with a radical critique, illustrating differences with reference to India. We then argue for a more inductive and plural account, drawing on a set of doctoral research studies to illustrate variation in the evolution of microfinance experience according to social relations among users, organisational culture of suppliers, and the political economy of regulation. A global narrative of movement towards total financial inclusion - benign or otherwise - will not do justice to this diversity, nor should the history of microfinance be dominated by one overarching global perspective.
- microfinance, financial inclusion, pluralism, India