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The Global Rise of Social Cash TransfersHow States and International Organizations Constructed a New Instrument for Combating Poverty$
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Lutz Leisering

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754336

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198754336.001.0001

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Basic Social Security

Basic Social Security

From Poor Relief to Social Assistance to Social Cash Transfers

(p.64) 3 Basic Social Security
The Global Rise of Social Cash Transfers

Lutz Leisering

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the historical origins of social assistance (including social cash transfers) in North and South, and maps the field in conceptual terms. It is argued that the emergence of social assistance was part of the rise of the modern state, and later of the welfare state, involving a bureaucratization and nationalization of poverty. Since the 1990s and the 2000s, poverty and social assistance respectively have been ‘globalized’: international organizations have turned to the issue, and cash transfers have spread across the global South and have even become an electoral issue. Drawing on Georg Simmel and T. H. Marshall, the chapter shows that social assistance may involve exclusions and stigma, but can be a vital component of social citizenship rights if society recognizes the legitimacy of the claims of the poor. The chapter also shows how social assistance has contributed to social citizenship in European countries.

Keywords:   social assistance, social cash transfers, social citizenship, poverty, state, global South, international organizations, Europe, T. H. Marshall, Georg Simmel

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