“They Are Not Leaving Without Their Money”: Exploring Encounters With the State Through Cash Transfers in the Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa


  • Stefan Granlund Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences




cash transfers, entitlement, social justice, state–citizen relations, South Africa, Child Support Grant


In this article, I explore the ways in which encounters with the state through cash transfers shape state–citizen relations in the rural Eastern Cape, South Africa. I expand on literature that advances an understanding of the way in which state cash transfers can act as a vehicle for either strengthening a sense of citizenship, dignity and entitlement or reproducing inequality, stigmatisation and shame. Using qualitative methods to explore cash transfer recipients’ own lived experiences and drawing on a social justice framework, I illustrate complex state–citizen relations in rural South Africa. Although some recipients perceive grants as a form of charity, there is also a growing sense of entitlement to receiving cash transfers. The interviews and observations suggest that misrecognition has occurred through mistreatment by state officials and extraordinary long queues during a change in service delivery. However, the encounters with state bureaucracy are also potential avenues in which impoverished people see the state and gain recognition, which contributes to a sense of citizenship.


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How to Cite

Granlund, Stefan. 2022. “‘They Are Not Leaving Without Their Money’: Exploring Encounters With the State Through Cash Transfers in the Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (1). https://doi.org/10.25159/2708-9355/9052.
Received 2021-02-02
Accepted 2021-12-21
Published 2022-04-01