Presence and Social Obligation: A Lecture on the Share

Free Public Lecture

Presence and Social Obligation: A Lecture on the Share

Forum Theatre, Level 1
Arts West


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T: 0432239183

In a recent book, Professor James Ferguson analysed the figure of the share as a principle of distribution of social protection payments or “cash transfers” in the global South in general, and in southern Africa in particular. Noting that today’s existing schemes of distribution are (like all “social” schemes before them) limited by principles of nation-state membership, he concluded with the suggestion that it may be possible to detect new logics of social obligation emerging that work not according to a logic of citizenship and national membership, but according to a principle that he called “presence”.

This lecture is an attempt to elaborate this conception, and to develop a more complete account of how such an understanding of presence might provide a basis both for an expanded sense of social obligation and for more inclusionary forms of politics.


  • Professor James Ferguson
    Professor James Ferguson, Professor of Anthropology