Survival Strategies

  • Riccardo Lucchini
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 21)


CSS employ innumerable strategies to overcome their everyday challenges. This chapter investigates the skills CSS deploy for that. The children’s capacity to draw on their available symbolic resources in order to adapt to the conditions of street life is often more important than their physical resources for their well-being. Four types of survival strategies – coercion, concealment, persuasion, accomodation – are identified. The capacity of CSS to create opportunities is illustrated with examples from Brazil. Street life is ambivalent, presenting a combination of constraints and liberties, of violence and complicity, of dangers and survival opportunities. It does not prevent, however, the children to resort to more elaborate strategies, such as stealing, or camouflage with changing the name and inventing identities. To protect themselves, CSS often resort to the code of silence and controlled visibility. A protection strategy depends on the social influence that a child is able to exert on others and on the points of references building up a street career.


Survival strategies Symbolic resources Ambivalence Controlled visibility References Career 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Lucchini
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor EmeritusUniversity of Fribourg Professor EmeritusCorminboeufSwitzerland

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