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Cash transfers and the promise of social justice? 
Shruti Iyer (University of Oxford)
Meredith McLaughlin (University of Cambridge)
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Meredith McLaughlin (University of Cambridge)
Embedding justice in development
B401, 4th floor Brunei Gallery
Thursday 27 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This roundtable will facilitate a reflective conversation on the moral imaginaries framing cash transfer programmes. It asks what meanings people attach to social protection, how this influences claims, and critically interrogates the relationship between redistribution and social justice.

Long Abstract:

Cash transfers have recently come to be at the forefront of poverty alleviation initiatives globally. These programmes typify new trends in redistributive politics (Ferguson 2015) and have expanded especially rapidly in contexts defined by precarious labour conditions, where social assistance efforts have often been implemented under a framework of ‘development’ (Kar 2017: 12). These cash transfer programmes intervene into dynamic social worlds and state-society relations, raising questions about relationality, reciprocity, dependency, trust, care, and the norms of a just society (Neumark 2020; Schmidt 2022). In this roundtable session, we ask how varied case studies can help us understand the moral imaginaries that emerge around cash transfer programmes. For instance, what meanings are attached to cash transfers as they circulate within communities of beneficiaries? How do transfers mediate relationships between people and with the state? To what extent do the state and other actors (e.g. NGOs) frame these interventions in the idioms of ‘self-reliance’, ‘empowerment’, 'relief', or ‘development,’ and what are their attendant moral assumptions? Do beneficiaries regard transfers as rights, entitlements, shares, or gifts? How are ethical visions for cash transfers articulated, and how do they inform people’s claims? By focusing on the moral aspirations and concerns that surround cash transfers, this roundtable critically interrogates how they relate to the broader objectives of social justice. We will consider how cash transfers feature within the wider politics of redistribution and attempts to expand social and economic rights.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Thursday 27 June, 2024, -