Mobility and household forms as adaptive strategies of rural populations

Luis Camarero, Jesús Oliva


Social and territorial inequalities take on new dimensions in times of economic recession. The impact of the crisis on policies aimed at achieving equity in access to opportunities and the provision of public services has been particularly acute in rural areas of Southern Europe. This article analyses the role that mobility, household composition and family networks play in the strategies that social groups use when facing such periods of uncertainty. We first analyse the changes in the forms of rural governance and in policies aimed at rural territories and societies. Second, we look at the role that mobility and rural households have historically played in strategies of resistance in times of crisis. The plasticity that family and household forms offer in shaping relations of inter-generational solidarity – caring for dependents, material assistance, etc. – is an essential resource in these strategies. These issues are illustrated with examples from fieldwork carried out in the Pyrenees in the region of Navarre. In contrast to the traditional equivalence assumed between the family as a kinship group, the home as a domestic partnership and the household as a space of single residency, our analysis sees them as independent. Our research shows that, in the adaptive strategies of family groups, mobility, networks between homes and the advantages of territorial localization play an essential role.


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