Household networks and the security of mutual indebtedness in rural Kazakstan
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This article examines the ways in which rural Kazaks use household networks for daily survival and social mobility in the post-Soviet period. While studies of household survival strategies often focus on sources of income and the prorduction of food, I argue that reproductive activities are just one part of a more comprehensive household strategy. In post-Soviet Kazakstan, where access to certain goods and services often requires personal connections, household networking activities are equally important for daily survival and often contribute towards productive activities. To understand the extent of this argument, it is necessary first to describe the research setting and to define the parameters of Kazak households and networks. Then I briefly explore how household networks are created and maintained through the reciprocal exchange of gifts and hospitality. Finally, I examine several ways in which household networks are manipulated daily in order to obtain services, information and cash.
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