The Art of Survival: Intersectionality in Social Protection in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
We conducted this project at a time when persons receiving social assistance were dubbed abusers of State funds and scapegoated as “fake persons in need” by State authorities, including by the criminalization of their actions. Without making an attempt to understand human behavior, basic needs and coping strategies, the authorities turned not only to prescribing monetary fines, but also to imprisonment. The users of the social protection system were largely (ab)used and for populist aims. All social protection measures provided were heavily reported by the media; portraying politicians in power as saviours of the “unfortunate” and “poor” people. All of this time - the personal experiences, basic needs and coping strategies of the persons that are or ought to be users of the social protection system were nowhere to be found in existing literature, including government strategies and other policy documents. Yet, everyone seemed to have an opinion as to how laborious or “in need” or “suffering” they were. Whole policies are built around the activation of persons, whereas no one really asked whether the persons that are or ought to be users of the social protection system were actually passive, nor have they reported how they have established the need for activation.