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Degrees of separation: informal social protection, relatedness and migration in Biswanath, Bangladesh

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Gardner, Katy

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Abstract This paper argues for a more precise and context specific understanding of mechanisms of 'informal social protection' in Bangladesh. The context is a 'Londoni' village in Sylhet which has high levels of internal and overseas migration. As our findings show, the extent to which the poor can call upon the protection of rich overseas migrants depends upon the degree of closeness to, or separation from, them, marked both through real and fictive kinship as well as geography. As the paper also argues, access to hierarchically ordered places is vital for the sustainability of precarious livelihoods. Yet whilst geographical movement is an important survival strategy for the poor, it is only when social relations are established with wealthy patrons that it can be said to contribute to informal social protection.
Keywords migration
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Social Problems
Free Keywords Bangladesh; employment and law; social protection
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 124-149
Journal Journal of Development Studies, 45 (2008) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)