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The Household in Flux

Plasticity Complicates the Unit of Analysis

Kelly A. Yotebieng and Tannya Forcone

The household is a ubiquitous unit of analysis across the social sciences. In policy, research and practice, households are often considered a link between individuals and the structures that they interact with on a daily basis. Yet, researchers often take the household for granted as something that means the same thing to everyone across contexts. As the household has never truly been a static unit of analysis, we need to revisit the household to ensure that we are still capturing what it means to be part of a household – especially if we are engaging in research where we aim to compare households across time and space. We analyse how the concept of the household has been used over time and identify areas, such as migration and urbanisation, where we need to ensure conceptual clarity. We use our field notes and ethnographic interviews to show the challenges of such an analysis.

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Family Dynamics and Social Practice Theories: An Investigation of Daily Practices Related to Food, Mobility, Energy Consumption, and Tourism

Françoise Bartiaux and Luis Reátegui Salmón

Based on empirical data on “green” practices according to household size, this article questions the role, if any, given to close personal relationships by social practice theories in sustaining or not daily life practices. Data are mainly drawn from an Internet survey conducted in Belgium in 2006 by WWF-Belgium on daily practices, related to food, energy consumption, mobility, and tourism. Results show that smaller households carry out more numerous “green” practices than larger ones. The concluding discussion underlines the relevance of including social interactions—namely within the household—into the conceptual framework derived from the social theories of practices, to take into account the rearticulating role of social interactions and domestic power claims when carrying out a practice or a set of practices, and when changing it.

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Householding and social reproduction

Comment on Newberry and Rosen

Deborah James

putting the spotlight on women and children in particular seems to miss an important part of the equation, namely the household and the process of householding. True, care and nurture of children by women often occupies the prime spot in this space and

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Household Economy, Long-Term Change, and Social Transformation: The Bronze Age Political Economy of Northwestern Europe

Kristian Kristiansen

In this article I examine how long-term economic strategies in the Bronze Age of northern Europe between 2300 and 500 BCE transformed the environment and thus created and imposed new ecological constraints that finally led to a major social transformation and a "dark age" that became the start of the new long-term cycle of the Iron Age. During the last 30 years hundreds of well-excavated farmsteads and houses from south Scandinavia have made it possible to reconstruct the size and the structure of settlement and individual households through time. During the same period numerous pollen diagrams have established the history of vegetation and environmental changes. I will therefore use the size of individual households or farmsteads as a parameter of economic strength, and to this I add the role of metal as a triggering factor in the economy, especially after 1700 BCE when a full-scale bronze technology was adopted and after 500 BCE when it was replaced by iron as the dominant metal. A major theoretical concern is the relationships between micro- and macroeconomic changes and how they articulated in economic practices. Finally the nature of the "dark age" during the beginning of the Iron Age will be discussed, referring to Sing Chew's use of the concept (Chew 2006).

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Structural and Ideological Determinants of Household Waste Recycling: Results from an Empirical Study in Cologne, Germany

Henning Best

This article aims to empirically test the so called low-cost hypothesis. The hypothesis posits that cost moderates the strength of the relationship between environmental concern and behavior. The effects of the behavioral cost and environmental concern on household waste recycling were evaluated, using empirical data collected from 2,695 respondents in Cologne, Germany. Empirically, a clear effect of both behavioral cost and environmental concern can be identified. Recycling rates are higher when a curbside scheme is implemented or the distance to collection containers is low. In addition, the probability of recycling participation rises when the actor has a pronounced environmental concern. This effect of environmental attitudes does not vary with behavioral cost and opportunities. Therefore, the low-cost hypothesis is not supported by the study.

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HOUSEHOLD STUDIES “À LA MODE”?

Martine Segalen

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A Household God in a Socialist World

Andrei A. Znamenski

The article discusses the reasons for high appraisal of Lewis Henry Morgan’s ethnological heritage in Russian/Soviet social scholarship. Morgan’s social evolutionism, attached to Marxism by Frederick Engels, sounded attractive for the Soviet scholarship, which pulled Morgan’s ideas out of context of the nineteenth century thought and planted to the social scholarship of the 1930s-1980s.From the early 1930s anthropological officialdom in the firmer USSR canonized Morgan’s ideas, especially his matriarchy thesis and the prophesy about there turning to the classless society in the new advanced form. Until the early 1980s the Soviet anthropology, reduced to the study of the “primitive communist formation”, developed in the rigid framework of the Morgan-Engels’s concept. The article is based on the original Russian/Soviet sources.

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Decision-making in farming households in eastern Poland

Amanda Krzyworzeka

The agricultural situation in Poland has been changing significantly during the last decades. In 1989, the predictability of the communist centrally planned economy was replaced by the unexpectedness and "invisible hand" of the free market economy. The socialist welfare state has been replaced by new modes of support, introduced by European Union (EU). On the basis of fieldwork conducted between 2005 and 2008 in farming communities in eastern Poland, I focus on decision making among small-scale farmers. This article addresses decision-making processes and their sociocultural context, including the reasons for and circumstances behind decisions, and also elements of decision-making processes that tend to hinder the introduction of EU agricultural policy. In the course of adapting to new and changing realities, farmers creatively use customary ways of thinking and acting in the various decisions they have to make while running the farm. Changes of the very mechanisms of decision-making processes seem to be rather slow, however.

Open access

The Case of Pakistan

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Perceived Well-Being of Displaced Households

Fariya Hashmat, Ahmad Nawaz, Tony Bradley, and Asad Ghalib

has been negligible. As such, this article explores the lives of the most vulnerable groups and displaced households in Pakistan, who are experiencing the harsh realities of this pandemic. The specific community investigated comprises families who were

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The Role of Small-Scale Farming in Familial Care

Reducing Work Risks Stemming from the Market Economy in Northeast Thailand

Shinsuke Tomita, Mario Ivan Lopez, and Yasuyuki Kono

Thailand households. First, this article assumes that childbearing, child-rearing, and care for the elderly are risks that diminish the value of labor as labor enters the market. It then examines how households manage such risks for people who are in the