Working Paper

IDS Working Paper 542

Beyond Informal Social Protection – Personal Networks of Economic Support in Namibia

Published on 12 November 2020

This paper poses a different lens on informal social protection (ISP).

ISP is generally understood as practices of livelihood support among individuals. While studies have explored the social dynamics of such, they rarely do so beyond the conceptual space of informalities and poverty. For instance, they discuss aspects of inclusion, incentives and disincentives, efficiency and adequacy. This provides important insights on whether and to what extent these practices provide livelihood support and for whom. However, doing so in part disregards the socio-political context within which support practices take place.

This paper therefore introduces the lens of between-group inequality through the Black Tax narrative. It draws on unique mixed method data of 205 personal support networks of Namibian adults. The results show how understanding these practices beyond the lens of informal social protection can provide important insights on how economic inequality resonates in support relationships, which in turn can play a part in reproducing the inequalities to which they respond.

Cite this publication

Oppel, A. (2020) Beyond Informal Social Protection – Personal Networks of Economic Support in Namibia, IDS Working Paper 542, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies

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published by
Institute of Development Studies
Oppel, Annalena


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