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Cash Transfers and Citizenship: Evidence from South Africa


  • Sophie Plagerson
  • Trudy Harpham
  • Karina Kielmann


Theoretical research has assumed a role for cash transfers in forging a state-citizen contract, yet evidence is scarce regarding whether social protection promotes citizenship among claimants in practice. The article explores the implications of cash transfers for notions of citizenship in the narratives of transfer recipients in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cash transfers created a space for state-citizen exchange, helping topersonalise views of the state, and giving citizens grounds for holding the state accountable. However, boundaries between state and citizens' responsibilities were contested, suggesting that expectations of a contractual relationship with the state were weak. Cash transfers are an important but partial means of promoting citizenship.

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  • Sophie Plagerson & Trudy Harpham & Karina Kielmann, 2011. "Cash Transfers and Citizenship: Evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(7), pages 969-982, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:7:p:969-982
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2012.658371

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.
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