1st Edition

Money from the Government in Latin America Conditional Cash Transfer Programs and Rural Lives

Edited By Maria Elisa Balen, Martin Fotta Copyright 2019
    228 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    It has been almost two decades since conditional cash transfer programs first appeared on the agendas of multilateral agencies and politicians. Latin America has often been used as a testing ground for these programs, which consist of transfers of money to subsections of the population upon meeting certain conditions, such as sending their children to school or having them vaccinated. Money from the Government in Latin America takes a comparative view of the effects of this regular transfer of money, which comes with obligations, on rural communities.

    Drawing on a variety of data, taken from different disciplinary perspectives, these chapters help to build an understanding of the place of conditional cash transfer programsin rural families and households, in individuals’ aspirations and visions, in communities’ relationships to urban areas, and in the overall character of these rural societies.

    With case studies from Chile, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, this book will interest scholars and researchers of Latin American anthropology, sociology, development, economics and politics.

    List of Figures

    List of Tables

    List of Contributors


    Introduction: Rearticulations of rural lives through conditional cash transfers

    Martin Fotta & Maria Elisa Balen


    1. Gendering and engendering capital: Conditional cash transfers in Indigenous and rural households, Yucatan, Mexico

    Andrés Dapuez

    2. Filling the belly and feeding the mind? Bolsa Família and the building of children’s human capital in rural Amazonia

    Barbara A. Piperata

    3. Peruvian mothers contending with conditional aid and its selective inattention to the conditions of rural life

    Tara Patricia Cookson


    4. Fragmented rural communities: The faenas of Prospera at the interface of community cooperation and state dependency

    Clément Crucifix & Solène Morvant-Roux

    5. Empowering women? Conditional cash transfers in Mexico

    Birgit Schmook, Nora Haenn, Claudia Radel & Santana Navarro-Olmedo

    6. Money from above: Cash transfers, moral desert and enfranchisement among Guaraní households of the Argentine Chaco

    Agustin Diz

    7. Dangerous desires: The affects (and affections) of cash transfer programs among the Kalapalo from the Aiha village (Upper Xingu, Mato Grosso, Brazil).

    Marina Pereira Novo


    8. From surprise to anticipation: Money, state and the future of social protection among displaced peasants in El Carmen de Bolívar, Colombia.

    Maria Elisa Balen

    9. Beyond cash, beyond conditional: Ingreso Ético Familiar and the senses of poverty in a group of Mapuche women

    Marjorie Murray & Gabriela Cabaña

    10. Saying no: Bolsa Família, self-employment, and the rejection of jobs in northeastern Brazil

    Gregory Duff Morton

    Afterword: From affirmative to transformative distributive politics

    Jonathan DeVore



    Maria Elisa Balen is Associate Researcher at the Grupo de Protección Social in the Universidad Nacional de Colombia’s Centro de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo, Colombia.

    Martin Fotta is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.

    "This urgently-needed volume reveals the power of a technically savvy, yet conceptually sophisticated, anthropology to confront the social policy question of our time: Do the conditional cash transfers (CCTs) represent the ideal paradigm for fighting social injustice in the twenty-first century? Both critical and even-handed, these chapters reveal the faulty premises and unintended consequences of such policies and open new vistas for progressive state action." -- Aaron Ansell, Assistant professor of Anthropology, Virginia Tech, USA, author of Zero Hunger: Political Culture and Anti-poverty Policy in Northeast Brazil, University of North Carolina Press

    "Cash transfers are widely accepted as effective palliatives in efforts to alleviate extreme poverty. But we know little about their impact on the individuals, households and communities that they serve. Fotta and Balen have assembled a rich collection of ethnographic case studies which analyse the micro-social dynamics of these programmes, revealing their effects on class, gender and ethnic relations. The editors provide fresh critical perspectives on the cash transfer phenomenon, challenging scholars and policymakers to think carefully when weighing up the positives and negatives of these programmes. This is not only a most welcome contribution to the debate on social protection but shows how essential social analysis is for the domain of public policy." -- Maxine Molyneux, Professor of Sociology, University College London, UK, editor of The Social and Political Potential of Cash Transfers, Routledge

    "Written by a select team of specialists from several disciplines, and [deploying] a comparative perspective, the book highlights the diverse meanings that money from conditional cash transfer policies assumes in rural communities across Latin America, and is thus fundamental reading for academics, students, and policy makers." -- André Pires, Professor of Anthropology, Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, Brazil, author of Ruralidades em Transformação: Agricultores, Caseiros e Moradores de Condomínio, Annablume