Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution
James Ferguson is Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. He is the author of Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order and the coeditor of Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology, both also published by Duke University Press.
Conclusion: What Next for Distributive Politics?
The concluding chapter of the book offers a survey of the possibilities the current conjuncture raises for progressive politics. It suggests that emergent new forms of distributive politics, involving both cash transfers in specific and the broader ground of “service delivery” in general, are demonstrating the potency of new kinds of mobilization and claim-making. After reviewing a range of innovative and experimental new ways of conceiving, applying, and justifying programs of direct non-market distribution (including but not limited to basic income), the chapter goes on to consider the challenge of conceiving a politics of distribution that would not be limited to the horizons of the nation-state. It is suggested that contemporary distributive politics must seek new ways of figuring membership and creating systems of inclusion and obligation that go beyond the abstractions of a global humanity to offer concrete forms of recognition and practical mechanisms of distribution.