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Title: Cashless welfare payments and everyday life : a study of South Africa and Australia
Author: Bantock, Luke
ISNI:       0000 0004 8509 982X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates the emergence of cashless welfare payments (CWP) and their effect on everyday life. It argues that CWP create a space in everyday life in which social relations and social behaviours are restructured. This restructuring is considered as a process and consolidation of neoliberalisation. The precise form of CWP are contingent on the social and policy contexts in which they are embedded, the contradictory nature of neoliberalism, and crucially, the effects on the everyday lives being targeted and responses to this. In South Africa it has taken an inclusive form that has facilitated state-society social relations and enabled financial accumulation. In Australia it takes a disciplinary form that has sought to control consumption and encourage capitalist social relations. The thesis draws on two main theoretical influences: ‘neoliberalisation’ as an understanding of the restructuring of contemporary welfare, and Henri Lefebvre’s theorisation of Everyday Life. The framework developed from these influences is used to analyse two case studies. Firstly, the South African ‘SASSA card’ that was introduced in 2012, and distributed cards and bank accounts to people who received a social grant. Secondly, the Australian ‘Cashless Debit Card’ (CDC), which was introduced in specific sites across Australia from 2016. Data was gathered through a combination of semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observations and documentary and policy analysis. This thesis contributes to academic knowledge in three central areas. Firstly, it offers a new example and interpretation to contribute to the field of everyday IPE. Drawing on Lefebvre’s approach, it demonstrates the value of the study of the everyday by offering a sociological, experiential dimension to contemporary welfare restructuring. It also deepens studies of neoliberalisation by addressing contingency at an everyday level and the variegated outcomes this produces. The second area is in the study of welfare. Empirically, the thesis draws attention to the importance of the mode of payment in shaping people’s lives, providing new empirical material on welfare systems in South Africa and Australia. Finally, it contributes to the study of everyday financialisation by drawing on social meanings of money, and offers new examples of the way linkages are developed between finance capital and welfare recipients.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HC Economic History and Conditions ; HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare