The negotiations of Zambia's welfare regime: the transformative potential of social cash transfers

Maria Klara Kuss

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal


The great challenge of our age is the achievement of sustainable poverty reduction and inclusive development. Too many people around the globe suffer from poverty, discrimination, and injustice. And this is despite more than half a century of international development efforts. As the world is emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is an important and timely task to understand better how and why poverty is reproduced, and transformative efforts have largely failed. This dissertation sheds light on these questions by providing fine-grained empirical insights into the complex negotiations of Zambia’s welfare regime. Specifically, it examines the decision-making processes about who should receive social cash transfers, who should not, and why. It is argued that in order to transform poverty, development and reform initiatives need to take account of local power relations and values of social justice, expose the clashes of beliefs, and convince local actors of the desirability of change. In short, interventions need to embrace a transformative, or political, approach.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • McGregor, Allister J. , Supervisor, External person
  • Bevir, M., Supervisor, External person
  • Gassmann, Franziska, Supervisor
Award date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • social transformation
  • poverty reduction
  • social protection
  • Zambia

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