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The moral economies of social protection in the Global South 
Shruti Iyer (University of Oxford)
Meredith McLaughlin (University of Cambridge)
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Liz Fouksman (King's College London)
Thursday 25 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel seeks to facilitate a comparative conversation on the moral economies of social protection programmes in the Global South. It asks what meanings people attach to social protection, how this influences claim-making, and the role of the state in the politics of redistribution.

Long Abstract:

In recent years, anthropologists have become increasingly interested in what Ferguson (2015) has called the “new politics of distribution”: cash transfers and other forms of state-sponsored social security emerging predominantly in the Global South. These frequently arise in contexts defined by precarious labour conditions, where social protection programmes have been implemented under a framework of “development” (Kar 2017: 12). In this panel, we ask how varied ethnographic case studies from across the Global South can shed light on this politics of redistribution. In particular, we are interested in exploring the moral imaginaries that emerge around social protection and how these inform people’s engagement with the state as they seek to secure material ends. What are the varied ‘politics of meanings’ attributed to social protection (Madhok, 2015; Roy, 2017)? For example, might expectations for social protection draw upon logics of charity or sympathy (Jayal, 2013)? Do beneficiaries regard services as rights, entitlements, or benefits? How does this inform their claims? How do social protection programmes relate to the political economy of capitalism, in either insulating people from poverty or further drawing people into market relationships (Nilsen, 2020; Sanyal, 2007)? How is this experienced and articulated? By focusing on the moral assumptions and aspirations surrounding programmes such as cash transfers, subsidies, and social security, this panel will reflect on the role of the state in the politics of redistribution. We also encourage contributors to think about how non-state entities— corporations, NGOs, international humanitarian organisations— are involved in the provision of welfare.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -