Ironies of Solidarity Insurance and Financialization in South Africa

Mon, 24 February 2020 17:00 – 19:00

An ethnographic study of how financial products and services affect inequalities and conflicts in South Africa

About this Event

The Book Discussion with author Erik Baehre will look at how financial products and services affect inequalities and conflicts in South Africa.
Set in one of the world’s most unequal and violent places, this ethnographic study reveals how insurance companies discovered a vast market of predominantly poor African clients. After apartheid ended in 1994, South Africa became a ‘testing ground’ for new insurance products, new marketing techniques and pioneering administrative models with a potentially global market. Drawing on Rorty’s notion of irony for understanding how the contradictions inherent to solidarity affect inequality and conflict as well as drawing on a vast array of case studies, Ironies of Solidarity examines how both Africans enjoy the freedoms that they have gained in financial terms and how the onset of democracy effected the risks faced in everyday life. Bähre examines the ways in which policies are sold and claims are handled, offering a detailed analysis of South Africa’s insurance sector.

Speakers: Author Erik Baehre (Leiden), Maia Green (Manchester)
Discussant: Christopher Webb (Carleton Univ, Canada)
Chair: Elizabeth Hull (SOAS)
The event is followed by a drink reception and supported by the Southern Africa Seminar Series, University of London

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