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Session Overview
3-HP085 - 1/2: Social Policy as Social Ordering in Development: Critical Perspectives - 1/2
Tuesday, 06/July/2021:
2:00pm - 3:15pm

Session Chair: Dr. María Gabriela Palacio Ludeña, Leiden University, Netherlands, The
Session Chair: Dr. Hayley Amanda Jones, University College London, UK, United Kingdom
Session Chair: Maria Klara Kuss, UNU-MERIT/Maastricht University, Puerto Rico (U.S.)
Session Chair: Dr. Andrew Martin Fischer, Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), Netherlands, The

Session Abstract

This panel invites contributions that explore the norms, institutional processes, social relations, and power dynamics associated with various aspects of social policy in developing countries, and the role they might play as instruments of social ordering. Of particular interest is the possibility that many policies and programmes might play a role in perpetuating processes of social inequality rather than promoting solidarity; their instrumentalisation through narrow targeting modalities; their role in governing social and political identities; and the possibility that many might maintain rather than attenuate existing power dynamics, thereby reproducing forms of discrimination, oppression, and segregation detrimental to solidarity. These possibilities are crucial to explore, given the often uncritical acceptance and promotion of social policy as a means to achieve social justice and build social solidarities in development.

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Investigating the Processes and Implication of External Influence in Social Protection in Cambodia and the Philippines

Emma Lynn Dadap-Cantal

ISS, Netherlands, The

This paper critically re-examines the role of external influence/pressure in the diffusion of conditional cash transfers (CCTs) in Cambodia and the Philippines. One important observation in this research pertains to the strong similarity in the processes of adoption and the design of such schemes despite variations in uptake and/or implementation. I contend that such uniformity is suggestive of the non-benign role of external influence/pressure via donors and other external actors in advancing the CCT agenda across the Global South. I find rather inadequate the ways by which the role of external influence/pressure in CCT diffusion has been researched and understood. For instance, while a number of studies on the Philippines’ CCT programme have posited the significant role of donors like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, these have mostly focused on subtle, particularly ideational, mechanisms of external influence. And while these studies have mentioned that some loans (aid) were involved–alluding to hard constraints–these have only treated said loans superficially, and hence, have failed to elucidate how direct external pressures played out in social protection in a supposedly less aid dependent country. Further, many of the studies focused on subtle or ideational mechanisms of external influence have repeatedly emphasised the importance of conferences, exposure trips, and other learning forums, as well as the role of consultants and experts in promoting CCTs. Beyond these, however, my research draws attention to the embeddedness or entrenchment of donors and other external actors in the various domestic policy spheres. I maintain that such embeddedness does more than ideational influence. It allows donors and their agents to cajole, handhold, and monitor domestic policy actors to ensure compliance to their preferred policy or reform, in this case, CCTs. Such embeddedness thus constitutes external pressure and does not really represent a break from the conventional practice of external interference in domestic policymaking despite declarations of supposedly greater national ownership both by donor institutions and recipient governments.

Another important observation in this research pertains to the superficiality of CCTs with respect to domestic political economy dynamics. By superficiality, I refer to the schemes’ apparent disconnect or insulation from political and social groups that have been conventionally identified with the emergence and expansion of social provisioning especially in the Northern welfare states. No identifiable group–whether the business sector, peasant or labour groups, mothers’ or women’s organisations, or other powerful forces at the local and national levels–demanded or integrated CCTs into their political agenda. The schemes emerged relatively uncontested, with policy elites, in concert with donors, driving the CCT processes both in Cambodia and the Philippines. However, as my broader argument, despite how marginal CCTs may be (specifically in the case of Cambodia) and how they are only superficially inserted into the domestic political economy, their implications are far-reaching in the sense that they appear to have conditioned the nature of social provisioning in the two countries. They have legitimised and normalised the poverty targeting modality in social provisioning and consequently, have posed a threat towards deeper fragmentation and residualism across the wider social protection/policy systems in these countries, as well as inequities among social groups. It is therefore in the institutional and systemic implications where we see external influence/pressure coming to bear, rather than in the CCT schemes per se. CCTs, after all, have only served as a vehicle, if not a veil, for the institutional and systemic changes that are taking place.

30 years building the Paraguayan Informal Security Regime

José Antonio Rojas Caballero1, Ana Teresa Rojas Viñales2

1Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Paraguay; 2Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Paraguay


In 2019, Paraguay Celebrated 30 years of democratic transition,, Although progress is recognized in several aspects, many shortcomings and doubts about the ability of the State still remain, especially about the capacity to guarantee, for all citizens through goods, services and regulations what is established in the Constitutional Law "of the quality of life" (art. 6).

The purpose of this article is to contribute to the area of social policies in Paraguay, it seeks to first conceptualize the Welfare States/Welfare Regimes and the Paraguayan State as a unit of analysis highlighting their historical characteristics, the relations between Society-State-Market and the strong link with political patronage-clientelism in its formation and expansion from the middle of the 20th century until the present days. In a second block, its reviewed how these concepts developed before are materialized through social policies, their characteristics, main strategies, programs and emblematic projects implemented and the evolution of institutionality throughout three distinct stages or phases:

- First the period corresponding to the years 1989 to 2002 Characterized by being the initial or incipient phase of state intervention in the social sphere.

- Second Stage 2003 to 2013 beginning of the programs to fight poverty, as well as the strengthening of universality and the expansion of the main social constitutional rights.

- Finally and most Recently, the period corresponding to the years 2013 to 2018, where there is a breakdown and reconfiguration (both conceptually and institutionally) of state management in the field of social policies.

Keywords: social protection, social security, patronage, social policies, Welfare States

Deserving Families? The Role of Familial Norms for Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America

Beatriz Burattini, Isabela Nunes Franciscon

International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, Brazil

This chapter explores how conditional cash transfers (CCTs) can be used to normalise certain types of idealised familial roles and how they may reproduce familial norms. Based the programme designs of CCTs and their expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, this chapter analyses which norms and assumptions regarding families are behind design features and conditions of CCTs. Furthermore, legislative texts and statements by policy makers that justify family-based restrictions in Argentina and Brazil undergo a discourse analysis to identify the family norms that justify these restrictions embedded in programme design. Based on these analyses, we find that conditionalities are not the main components of CCTs used to reproduce familial norms. Rather, benefit amount limits per family and the prioritisation of women as benefit recipients tend to do this in the Region. These features tend to reward female caretakers while not considering fathers and penalise large families. The Argentinian and Brazilian cases show how discourses that reproduce ideas about families influence the policy process in different ways as they constructed deserving and undeserving families and family members. In Argentina, stereotypes about supposedly dysfunctional poor families and malevolent mothers became part of the AUH’s design through a lack of resistance. During the pandemic in Brazil, gendered family roles were questioned, but nonetheless reproduced during the urgent creation of the Auxílio Emergencial by protecting mothers from supposedly aggressive and fraudulent male ex-partners.

Developmental Aspirations and Social Protection in Ethiopia: Maintaining the Perception of Progress Through Graduation

Tom Lavers

University of Manchester, United Kingdom

This paper analyses the politics of implementing the Productive Safety Net Programme in Ethiopia. The PSNP is one of the largest social transfer programmes in Africa that links cash and food transfers, public works and credit programmes in an attempt to address food security and promote productive economic activity. The paper analyses the rationale underpinning the design of the PSNP, the narrative and discourses used to justify the programme and how this underpins a particular pattern of allocation of PSNP resources within Ethiopia. To do so, the paper draws on some 50 key informant interviews with the key figures involved the elaboration of the PSNP, including politicians and bureaucrats in federal and regional governments, consultants and donor representatives over the period 2008-19. The analysis also utilises data on the distribution of transfers through the PSNP and closely related emergency assistance over time and spatially.

The argument advanced is that while there is a clear commitment within government to addressing food insecurity, the implementation of the PSNP has always faced a central challenge in reconciling its protective role with the developmental ambitions of the programme. The existence of widespread poverty and food insecurity is seen not only as a source of embarrassment to the government, but also a threat to the narrative of progress that has been used to legitimate the ruling party over this period. As a result a central ambition of the PSNP has always been to promote ‘graduation’ of participants into self-sufficiency and out of government support, ultimately removing the need for the programme altogether.

However, the protective and productive objectives of the programme have often been in tension with one another in practice with developmental ambitions undermining the protective role of the programme. First, the desire to maintain a narrative of developmental progress has resulted in an unwillingness of the government to consider expansion of the PSNP. This is despite it becoming increasingly clear that the PSNP is far too small for the number of people in need, with significant exclusion largely through geographical targeting, but also individual targeting. The result is that large numbers of people—who would technically qualify for the PSNP—are instead supported through ad hoc emergency assistance. Second, government frustration with the slow pace of graduation, and the need to maintain the perception of progress and meet national targets has resulted in enforced graduation, imposed on frontline state officials through performance targets and evaluations, regardless of the reality of food insecurity. The perverse result is that a self-proclaimed ‘developmental’ state sought legitimacy through fictitious graduation, in effect withdrawing support from some of the most vulnerable people in the country to justify a developmental narrative.

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