Nuclear Hardship or Variant Dependency? Households and the Scottish Poor Law

John Andrew Dale Blaikie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The 'nuclear hardship' hypothesis claims that where nuclear families predominated collective aid prevailed, whereas extended households were coextensive with kin-based support. This article tests this assumption by considering the relationship between households and the Poor Law in Lowland Scots communities after 1845. While cross-sectional census data are inconclusive, a longitudinal analysis based on case study evidence, including temporary as well as permanent relief patterns, suggests that 'nuclear hardship' might be replaced by a model that matches household structure with the varying sources of aid given during critical life situations while focusing upon applicants as negotiators rather than victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-280
Number of pages27
JournalContinuity and Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


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