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GeoJournal

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 295–304 | Cite as

How the very poor survive -the impact of hyper-inflationary crisis on low-income urban households in Buenos Aires/Argentina

  • Aguirre Patricia 
Article

Abstract

This paper is based on an anthropological research with a longitudinal type of design on the Domestic Consumer Strategies of 30 extremely poor families with undernourished children, living in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are analysed on the basis of food intake, as this is one aspect of survival strategies that can be measured.

Domestic Consumer Strategies analyse phenomena such as government policy regarding food programmes, wages and prices at the macrosocial level, and microsocial phenomena like the selective distribution of food in the home by sex and age.

Three periods in the development of survival strategies are covered in this paper: the initial stage (1988), two hyper-inflationary periods, and the following period of stability (1990).

Families living so close to the minimum survival level, where the slightest difference can mean death, did not create new strategies but exhausted tried methods. These are related to:
  1. 1.

    Changes in family composition

     
  2. 2.

    Diversification of sources of income

     
  3. 3.

    Self-exploitation

     

A fourth strategy exists: the extended Family Social Organization that influences all of the above.

Although the strategies are adaptive when considered as transactional systems between the family units and its social environment, this does not necessarily mean that they are successful, in fact none of these strategies allowed the families to maintain their prior food intake. There were even cases when families were trapped in suicidal transactions: maintaining the calorie intake of undernourished children at the expense of mothers and teenagers.

These extremely poor families have systematically been losers during the hyperinflationary period and also during the stabilization that followed.

Keywords

Aires Poor Family Urban Household Survival Level Food Programme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aguirre Patricia 
    • 1
  1. 1.Catedra de Salud Publica y Salud MentalUniversidad de Buenos AiresCap. Fed. Buenos AiresArgentina

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