Accepted paper:

Perspectives of governmentality on gendered outcomes: experiences from the Philippines' cash transfer program


Maria Kristina Alinsunurin (Nagoya University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how the concept of governmentality works in conditional cash transfer programs, as experienced in the Philippines; its impact on shaping the choices of women beneficiaries, and the gendered outcomes within the household and the community.

Paper long abstract:

Conditional cash transfers (CCT) have provided opportunities for improvement to those who have been sidelined especially on state protection (Tabbush, 2010). CCT seeks to address its objectives through a social contract between the household and the state: families, represented by the mothers, are co-responsible to meet education and health conditions. However, on a critical perspective, conditions are anchored on the concept of governmentality, which pertains to barely visible processes of the state governing towards prosperity, but also as a form of exercising power to configure habits and beliefs of the population (Foucault, 1982). This research argues that conditions may have done less to change the overall development process, especially for the women. CCTs continue to rely on normative gender assumptions to devolve responsibilities to women. More so, non-compliance to program conditions produces another scenario of exclusion, which will lead to the worsening of the well-being of these women and their family. This research investigates gendered outcomes of cash transfer programs anchored on perspectives of program processes of shaping household choices towards intended development outcomes. Using the standpoint theory as a methodological approach, the research situates itself on the experience of women participating in CCTs, and mechanisms of control which may have continued to marginalize them. Initial field results show the duality of life among the women beneficiaries: on the public sphere living on the concept of responsible motherhood, as set by the state; but in their realm, voicing their need for autonomy in the household and the community.

panel M5
Understanding social protection as technologies of social ordering and reproduction within contemporary development