Household Strategies: their conceptual relevance and analytical scope in social research

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138 Citations (Scopus)


The article considers the idea of `household strategies' as a concept that takes into account the motivations and agency of actors in society, as a method of analysis through looking at the intersection of different economies in household behaviour and as a unit of analysis, with a focus on households rather than individuals. Although the concept of household strategies has been criticized in each of these dimensions, it has nevertheless remained an important empirical tool of investigation in different parts of the world. Indeed, household strategies have become perhaps even more salient under conditions of social change such as post-Communism or post-Fordism. The danger of an over-emphasis on agency implied by this approach can be counteracted by considering structural factors that have emerged in empirical studies and which constrain the creation and deployment of household strategies. However, such constraints are not just objective but also culturally defined. Seen in this way, household strategies can be used for comparative research and can help to elucidate the social factors underlying economic behaviour. The article ends by suggesting certain conditions under which household strategies are likely to become especially important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-292
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • domestic work
  • family
  • household
  • informal economy
  • strategies work


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