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Social grants and stigma: The case of the Child Support Grant

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 16 May 2017
Time: 13:30 to 14:30

Presenter: David Neves, Senior Researcher, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape

This presentation considers the complex relationship between state welfare transfers (‘social grants’), practices of social solidarity, and stigma surrounding welfare receipt. It does this in relation to the Child Support Grant (CSG) received by over 11 million impoverished South African children. Drawing on evidence from a research project conducted among women receiving the CSG for beneficiary children it asks the question: what are the implications of receiving the CSG for the dignity, social status and relational dynamics? ‘Dignity’ is a crucial concept here. While it is foundational to the constitutional, rights-based ethos that underpins systems of social security, it incorporates a range of dynamic, complex and contradictory impulses. The presentation therefore traces accounts of the CSG as a manifestation of social solidarity and accordingly 'dignity enhancing'. It contrasts these with some recipients' accounts of the CSG receipt as stigma-inducing and dignity-detracting. The presentation seeks to make sense of these contradictory discourses. It does this by carefully considering the CSG and attempting to account for the permutations, sources and consequences of stigma.

Follow seminar live on twitter: @PLAASuwc #ChildSupportGrant