Accepted paper:

Ethnic Stratification and Networks of Reciprocity - Reproducing Inequality Patterns?


Annalena Oppel (Institute of Development Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Ethnic diversity within nations is prevalent in states where unity was (super) imposed through colonialism. Fragmented welfare states, a weak sense of belonging across ethnicities and a strong reliance on informal systems for redistribution builds on rather than transforms patterns of inequality.

Paper long abstract:

"The violent heritage from a dialectic point of view, shaped mentalities and ideologies of both, colonisers and colonised" (Frantz Fanon). Looking at the Namibian history, authors have described the acknowledgement that liberation struggles as power -charged and violent processes were not a fruitful environment for the foundation of democratic environments. The institutionalization of unification through a nation state, a democratic system and government meets different ethnic groups who in turn depict strong feelings and loyalties among but not necessarily across them. Various studies have explored the impact of ethnic diversification on inequality patterns through indirect political channels as members of different ethnicities appear to be less willing to distribute money to members of a different ethnic group. However, the a weak system of public solidarity and political will to implement such resulting in fragmented welfare states places the burden of redistribution on the informal systems of social protection. Therefore it is argued that inequality is also directly impacted if not re-produced if distribution of social assistance and insurance is based on networks of reciprocity which are founded on social identities including ethnicities and processes of social exclusion and inclusion.

panel P076
The Role of Networks in Rural-Urban-Transnational Encounters: The Mobility of People, Ideas and Spaces