Governing Charitably: The State, Civil Society, and Welfare in Jordan
Brumfield, Nicholas Joseph
Adely, Fida J
Examining non-state social service provision in the Jordanian community of Madaba, in this thesis I explore how voluntary associations fit within Jordan’s wider welfare mix. Basing my study off of personal interviews and fieldwork conducted over three months in Madaba, I ask two distinct, but interrelated research questions. The first question concerns voluntary associations’ relationship with the state. Drawing from Cammett and MacClean’s typology of state-provider relations, it asks, “How do non-state providers interact with the state and other actors to provide services in Madaba?” The second question concerns voluntary associations’ relationship with their beneficiaries. Drawing from Cammett and MacClean’s hypotheses on formality, as well as work by Atia and others on neoliberal governmentality, I ask, “How does providing resources through voluntary associations, as opposed to direct state provision, affect the way ordinary Jordanians can access resources?” After tracing a narrative of the development of social welfare and the voluntary association in Jordan from the late Ottoman period in Chapter 1, I answer these two questions in Chapters 2 and 3 respectively. In Chapter 2, I argue that the state largely exists in a position of domination over voluntary associations, tightly controlling their operations and providing a sizeable portion of their funding. This finding challenges the prevailing view that domination is rare in developing countries and suggests that scholars should expand our theoretical conception of domination away from the Chinese-centric model to incorporate aspects of neoliberal authoritarianism. I also argue that certain voluntary associations in the politically sensitive area of Dhiban exhibit a relationship of appropriation vis-à-vis the state, largely serving as a means for the regime to bypass the state’s theoretical commitment to egalitarianism through private charities. In Chapter 3, I argue that, despite this domination, decentralizing the authority to determine eligibility to voluntary associations provides a significantly new framework for what are in large part state resources. Comparing how different associations use or do not use gendered state documents to determine eligibility, I argue that informally-organized voluntary associations which do not use state documents can form ‘holes’ whereby state resources can filter down to those otherwise excluded from state provision.
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