Socio-historical context and ideology are often overlooked in analyses of how social welfare policy is used to promote well-being. This paper uses the South African Child Support Grant (CSG) to illuminate how a policy may enhance or hinder well-being, not only for individuals but also for a society. Forged through a combination of the inherited apartheid state's architecture, the redistributive ideology of the ruling African National Congress, social development theory and the constraints of economic globalisation, the CSG has produced paradoxically positive material well-being outcomes for many poor South Africans and possibly reproduced problematic subjective and relational forms of well-being nationally. Analysing how the grant, as a social policy, is historically and ideologically situated illuminates some of the constraints imposed upon a twenty-first century democratic developmental state as it tries to find its way in a global market, redistribute wealth, satisfy different constituencies and promote individual and collective well-being. Grants are a necessary but insufficient strategy for a twenty-first century democratic developmental state like South Africa.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 73-94
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.