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Family's Roles as a Welfare Pillar: The Case of Older Persons Living in Extreme Poverty in Bangladesh
Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-6601-6222
Department of Social & Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
2023 (Engelska)Ingår i: Development Policy Review, ISSN 0950-6764, E-ISSN 1467-7679, Vol. 41, nr 2, artikel-id e12679Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Motivation: Many mainstream welfare theories developed by social scientists and applied by economists and policymakers underestimate families’ roles in providing welfare to citizens. This is surprising given that the family constitutes one of the main welfare pillars across typologies of the welfare state.

Purpose: This article seeks to explore the role of the family as a welfare pillar with an ageing perspective. We aimed to test whether the family serves as a space for negotiations to improve wellbeing and achieve security in the absence of effective formal mechanisms.

Methods and approach: Applying the framework of “informal security regimes” (Wood, 2004), this article draws on 37 life history interviews collected from older persons living in extreme poverty in Bangladesh. Recurring themes are identified and analysed to explore the relationship between family and wellbeing/security.

Findings: We find that family relationships are often central in the pursuit of security. This shows how welfare delivery in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs), in this case Bangladesh, is deeply rooted in reciprocal family systems where all members actively fulfil moral and material expectations. Pursuing this collective goal can take different forms relative to each member's physical and mental capacity, position, gender, and age. Building on the empirical evidence, we propose the concept of “relational security” as a crucial marker and shaper of wellbeing.

Policy implications: To be effective, welfare policies need to better consider how the conception and experiences of wellbeing and security, especially for the older persons living in extreme poverty, are deeply embedded within the complex functioning of the relationships that can shape welfare outcomes in different directions.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Blackwell Publishing, 2023. Vol. 41, nr 2, artikel-id e12679
Nyckelord [en]
Ageing, Bangladesh, extreme poverty, family, social policy, welfare regimes
Nationell ämneskategori
Statsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-102378DOI: 10.1111/dpr.12679ISI: 000913372700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85146463335OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-102378DiVA, id: diva2:1713212
Forskningsfinansiär
EU, Horisont 2020, 754285Tillgänglig från: 2022-11-24 Skapad: 2022-11-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-06-22Bibliografiskt granskad
Ingår i avhandling
1. Living Longer, Living Harder: Ageing in Extreme Poverty in Bangladesh
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Living Longer, Living Harder: Ageing in Extreme Poverty in Bangladesh
2022 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this dissertation is to understand the lived experience of age-ing in extreme poverty in developing countries, in this case Bangladesh, a country that hosts a large number of extreme poor and ageing population. By focusing on the role of the family, the most neglected pillar of welfare, this dissertation sheds new light on the microprocesses of welfare politics. By doing so, it unravels the complexity and precariousness that characterises the lived experiences of the older persons, and the relational embeddedness of ageing in extreme poverty, which often makes bargaining, under conditions of scarce resources, an essential process.

This dissertation seeks to make contribution at the empirical, theoretical, and methodological levels. Empirically, it explores processes of generational transfer of disadvantages that create the conditions leading to the experience of extreme poor late life. Theoretically it helps us reconceptualise extreme poverty as ‘agency poverty’ associated with ageing. By adopting a life course approach, the dissertation advances our understanding of ageing and extreme poverty being inspired by postmodern and postcolonial in-sights, thus highlighting the importance of othering and agency erosion mechanisms. The dissertation also formulates the concept of ‘relational security’, arguing that the older persons’ search for wellbeing and security primarily revolves around their relations. The level of ‘relational security’ is therefore a crucial marker of wellbeing and security during the late life. Lastly, methodologically, and relying on an activist approach, the dissertation challenges some of the conventional ways of doing research. It emphasises the need both to duly recognise the power and agency of the vulnerable research participants and to facilitate a space to exercise their power and agency. It also advocates for researchers to be more mindful about their accountability to the research participants.

The dissertation discusses the policy implications of the findings and highlights that poverty policies and interventions should be concerned about ‘agency poverty’ and add provisions that contribute towards restoring older persons’ agency by, for example, empowering them politically. Policymakers also need to be aware that individuals’ different levels of relational embeddedness play a critical role in deter-mining the outcome of policy interventions tackling extreme poverty in old age.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Örebro: Örebro University, 2022. s. 86
Serie
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 45
Nyckelord
Ageing, Agency, Extreme Poverty, Generational Bargain, Life History Interviews, Othering, Postcolonial, Qualitative, Social Policy, Welfare Regimes
Nationell ämneskategori
Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-102119 (URN)9789175294780 (ISBN)
Disputation
2022-12-19, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2022-11-08 Skapad: 2022-11-08 Senast uppdaterad: 2022-12-15Bibliografiskt granskad

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