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Social Security in Developing Countries$
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Ehtisham Ahmad, Jean Drèze, John Hills, and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198233008

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198233008.001.0001

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Social Security and the Family: Coping with Seasonality and Calamity in Rural India

Social Security and the Family: Coping with Seasonality and Calamity in Rural India

Chapter:
(p.171) 5 Social Security and the Family: Coping with Seasonality and Calamity in Rural India
Source:
Social Security in Developing Countries
Author(s):

Bina Agarwal

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198233008.003.0005

This chapter draws upon existing studies focusing on the issue of social security essentially in terms of food security. It discusses a conceptual framework for understanding intrafamily relations and puts forward certain analytical propositions on the ways in which seasonality and calamity might impinge on these relations. The chapter examines the nature and effectiveness of the mechanisms adopted by poor agricultural families to provide food security for their members, against seasonality and calamity; the ways in which family coping mechanisms in the two contexts might differ; and intrahousehold inequalities in the burden of coping. It analyses how the family itself may begin to disintegrate in an extreme calamity such as famine, using the Bengal famine of 1943 as a case study, and highlights some aspects of appropriate external interventions.

Keywords:   social security, food security, intrafamily relations, agricultural families, seasonality, intrahousehold inequalities, Bengal famine

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