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Infrastructuring Aid: Materializing Social Protection in Northern Kenya

Year: 2013
Working paper number: 333
Author: Donovan, Kevin
Unit: SSU
Abstract:
In numerous African countries, humanitarian and development organizations—as well as governments—are expanding expenditures on social protection schemes as a means of poverty alleviation. These initiatives, which typically provide small cash grants to poor households, are often considered particularly agreeable for the simplicity of their administration and the feasibility of their implementation. This paper examines the background work required to deploy social protection in one especially remote area: the margins of postcolonial Kenya. Specifically, it documents the often-overlooked social and technical construction of the infrastructure necessary so that cash transfers may function with the ease and simplicity for which they are commended. Attention to the practice of 'infrastructuring' offers insights into the tensions and politics of what is rapidly becoming a key form of transnational governance in the global south, especially the way in which market-based means and humanitarian ethics overlap.
Publication file: WP 333.pdf
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