Neoliberalism, governance, and the geographies of conditional cash transfers

Jeff Garmany*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
247 Downloads (Pure)


This article considers the geographic effects of conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs), focusing specifically on the ways they rework space, modes of production, and State/society relationships. While CCTs appear linked to neoliberal development and biopolitical governance regimes (viz., governmentality), this article highlights the counterintuitive reasons for why CCTs sometimes fail to meet these broader State objectives. More directly, despite obvious tactics of Statecraft behind CCT initiatives, the effects of these programs can in fact undermine their intended governance outcomes. Drawing from case study research in rural northeastern Brazil - where an overwhelming majority of residents receive Bolsa Família CCT benefits - this article examines the political geographic changes induced by Bolsa Família in a region that has until recently seen very little State presence. By engaging a geographic perspective that focuses on the political and economic effects of CCT programs, this article sheds new light on processes of governance and development in a host of countries throughout the Global South.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
Early online date28 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Brazil
  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Development
  • Governance
  • Governmentality
  • Neoliberalism


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