Fabian Scholtes

Fabian Scholtes

Fabian’s research interest concerns the role of technologies and organization in financial sector development in East Africa. A key question is how systems of financial inclusion that are defined technically/financially interact with social and organizational dynamics. On one hand this concerns practices evolving around new technologies, regulations etc., especially as related to the production and use of financial knowledge. On the other hand it concerns the more structural question of what characterizes the resulting agencement or productive constellation of actors (such as clients, providers, regulators), models of financial knowledge and organization (imported but adapted) and instruments (like risk assessment tools or financial transaction apps). His perspective draws on Social Studies of Finance and Anthropology of Finance, as well as on critical research on Financialization as powerful societal transformation by capitalist finance.

Fabian is a affiliated researcher at the Department for Anthropology and Philosophy of University of Halle.. He received his Diploma (2002) as well as his PhD (2006) in International Economics from University of Tübingen. His PhD research explored Amartya Sen’s development ethics towards questions of environmental justice. During his PhD he also studies Social Anthropology. He’s been a researcher at the Center for Development Research (University of Bonn), working on issues of power and morality in development practice. Before joining the Institute of African Studies he’s worked for German development bank KfW and as freelance consultant, with a focus on organizational analysis and on national monitoring systems. He has conducted various short studies in Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Palestine and Tanzania.

Current position
Post Doctoral Researcher
University affiliation
Department for Anthropology and Philosophy of University of Halle


Fabian’s current research focuses on technologies and practices of credit risk assessment in the context of financial inclusion in East Africa. The guiding question is how knowledge of creditworthiness is organized when producing and using it as well as aggregating and regulating it. Recent innovation has produced new technologies of risk assessment that rely on Big Data (e.g. related to mobile phone use), ICT (automatized assessment, online with tablets), new calculation tools (credit scoring algorithms that produce automatic, seemingly non-judgemental financial classifications of persons) etc. Organizing this knowledge involves new procedures and practices ‘on the ground’, e.g. among microfinance providers who make this knowledge compatible with daily practice, but also regulations of commercial credit information providers (e.g. regarding confidentiality). The research aims to problematize how financial systems produce, classify and govern their financial citizens based on indications of trustworthiness different from those of the social system with which it interacts.


  • Scholtes, Fabian (2015) "Richard Rottenburg: Weit hergeholte Fakten: eine Parabel der Entwicklungshilfe." in Schlüsselwerke der Organisationsforschung , edited by Stefan Kühl, 586-590. Wiesbaden: Springer VS