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Cash Transfers in Context: An Anthropological Perspective

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Cash Transfers in Context

An Anthropological Perspective

Edited by Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan and Emmanuelle Piccoli

342 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-957-8 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (September 2018)

ISBN  978-1-80073-917-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (May 2023)

eISBN 978-1-78533-958-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The book is recommendable for anyone interested in the recent proliferation of a seemingly globalised social policy, that, however, is here shown to have very different faces, logics and effects in different localities across the global South.” • Critical Social Policy

“This is a very interesting study of targeted cash transfers mainly from an anthropological perspective. While, as the authors point out, there is an abundant literature on such transfers (particularly in terms of ‘grey’ literature) most of this is heavily econometric and top-down rather than providing a more bottom-up perspective.…an innovative study which deserves a wide readership both amongst academics and policy makers working in the field.” • European Journal of Social Security

“Read this book for a thoughtful analysis of how models travel if you are interested in  institutional diffusion and  the globalisation of social policy…[It shows that] Anthropology can make a contribution to understanding the politics of aid and social policy.” • Anthrodendum

“This book has much to say to scholars, students and practitioners of development. It addresses a particular development model which is widely disseminated around the globe, neither aiming to endorse nor critique it in principle, but to examine how it actually works, or fails to work, in specific locations.” • Lindsay DuBois, Dalhousie University

“This book – the first collection of its kind – will make an important contribution to the literature on cash transfer programs. Many of the chapters are written by practitioners with in-depth knowledge of the communities they write about, which brings an on-the-ground perspective that is often missing from the literature.” • Linda Abarbanell, San Diego State University


Marginal in status a decade ago, cash transfer programs have become the preferred channel for delivering emergency aid or tackling poverty in low- and middle-income countries. While these programs have had positive effects, they are typical of top-down development interventions in that they impose on local contexts standardized norms and procedures regarding conditionality, targeting, and delivery. This book sheds light on the crucial importance of these contexts and the many unpredicted consequences of cash transfer programs worldwide - detailing how the latter are used by actors to pursue their own strategies, and how external norms are reinterpreted, circumvented, and contested by local populations.

Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan is Professor of Anthropology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (both in France). He is also based at LASDEL, Niger. He has written numerous books in French and in English and is currently working on an empirical anthropology of public actions and modes of governance in West Africa.

Emmanuelle Piccoli is an Assistant Professor of Development Studies at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She is an anthropologist, and has been carrying out research in the Peruvian Andes since 2005. Her publications include Les Rondes paysannes: Vigilance, politique et justice dans les Andes péruviennes (Academia, 2011) as well as numerous papers.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Development StudiesPolitical and Economic Anthropology


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