Introduction: the Political Consequences of Non-state Social Welfare in the Global South
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Throughout the Global South, diverse non-state actors have historically played critical roles in enabling populations to meet their basic needs, whether by providing or mediating access to social benefits and programs. To date, little research explores non-state social welfare, particularly in the Global South, and existing studies tend to focus on technical and administrative concerns while neglecting the potential political ramifications. This introductory essay aims to conceptualize and theorize the politics of non-state social welfare. We highlight three dimensions of the political consequences of non-state social welfare, including the implications for state capacity, equity of access to social welfare, and experiences of citizenship. Based on this framework as well as the findings of the empirical contributions to the special issue, the essay concludes that non-state provision may pose more political challenges than proponents recognize, but its effects are ultimately contingent on the types of relationships between state and non-state providers.