Reciprocity, i Local Entitlements and Disaster Recovery

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1 Reciprocity, i Local Entitlements and Disaster Recovery BY SUPRIYA AKERKAR, MAUREEN FORDHAM AND PC JOSHI MICRODIS UNIVERSITY OF NORTHUMBRIA AND UNIVERSITY OF DELHI

2 Researched Area District : Behraich, UP, India: Floods and Erosion by the river Ghagra in 2007 and 2008 Field work: Quantitative survey: October 2008 Qualitative fieldwork: August December 2008 Socio-economic composition: Scheduled Caste or marginalised castes intermediate castes Upper caste However economically impoverished families were found across all the castes

3 What is this paper about? Analyses the coping, recovery and adaptive strategies, namely the normative social arrangements as practiced in the researched area. Studies bhav-vyavhar that is Emotional Behaviour of Reciprocity as a normative social arrangement practiced in the researched area. Hypothesises that normative social arrangements or social construction of rights like bhav-vyavhar vyavhar affect people s ability to respond and recover from disaster.

4 Capacities, Rights and Disaster: what does the literature say? Moral Economy or traditional i normative orders ensure minimum social rights in ensuring subsistence security and are guided by principles of risk aversion (Scott, 1976) Adaptive strategies are determined by the architecture of entitlements (Adger and Kelly 1999) Adaptive capacities can be understood at individual, community, and societal/institutional levels, with community dimension including notions of reciprocity (Paton, 2006)

5 Two Notions of Reciprocal Exchange Social Exchanges as contributing to social solidarity, and extended social structure (Levi Strauss, 1963; Mauss (1969). Builds upon Durkheim s model of social consensus Social Exchanges are made in ways that t hide the domination-subordination relationships (Bourdieu, 1977). Bourdieu uses the notion of symbolic capital to emphasise social conflict a Marxist frame of analysis.

6 Three main arguments of this paper The paper p shows that bhav-vyavhar as a reciprocal social action or as localised construction of rights follow both these social logics as suggested by Bourdieu, and Mauss, Levi Strauss on the other. Further, bhav-vyavhar reduces everyday risks and enables recovery from extreme events. It therefore suggests that reciprocal exchanges are inter-subjective practices and can be better understood as adaptive capacities of the communities.

7 The practice of Bhav-vyavhar In the words of one of the respondents: Suppose I don t have a particular good. Then, in friendship the other will give that good to me. And if they don t have some good, then I will give it to them. Further, it involves regular informal visits to each-other. For example, if I am passing this way, then thinking that they are my friends, I will meet them, visit them and ask them about their wellbeing. If they pass my way, then, they too will think about passing by my house and enquire about me. Otherwise, if they get to know from some other person that I had passed this way, and not met them, then they will be disappointed. I will call them in all social occasions, such as invitations to marriage, feasts. And I too will visit them when invited for such occasions. If I have a bhavvyavhar, attachment or friendship with the other, then, let s say that I see some cattle grazing in their fields; I will drive them away.

8 What does Bhav-vyavhar entail? Two main elements: Reciprocal obligated exchange of material goods in times of scarcities Regular exchange of symbolic goods or emotional work such as courtesies or visits, or participating in family social occasions or sentiments of care that sustain emotional bonding in these relations.

9 Understanding bhav-vyavhar as reciprocity Two kinds of bhav-vyavhar was observed: Bhav-vyavhar of equivalence : Reciprocal Exchange of Equal Resources. And found between poor families across caste and gender Bhav-vyavhar of non-equivalence : Reciprocal Exchange of Unequal resources. Found between poor and a rich household across caste and gender, similar to Patron-client relation (However these are different from Jajamani or bonded labour relations)

10 Significance of Bhav-vyavhar of Equivalence Act as a social insurance (reduces risks and enables recovery) and enables, sustains wider and extended social solidarities as we can see from the following: Floods and erosion had led to high levels of scarcities in food and money. Microdis Survey: 61.9% borrowed cash to deal with effects of floods and erosion. Of all whom had borrowed, 48.7% had borrowed on nil percentage of interest as in through bhav-vyavhar; Mutual borrowing. Food grain too was borrowed from each-other particularly when kin relatives visited them. Thus bhav-vyavhar enabled a show of due hospitality to visitors and maintaining social ties instrumental in carrying out other social obligations such as marriage, etc even in difficult circumstances after floods.

11 Significance of bhav-vyavhar of non-equivalence Against the background of scarcity of food and cash, Microdis survey found that while people generally borrowed at the normal 10% interest, those with a relation of bhav-vyavhar borrowed at a much lower interest Poor were able to mobilise, food grain. Further the patron helped them access the government entitlements which they were anyway entitled to but were unable to access. In return, these people would do an occasional free work for their patron or make their labour available to them on a priority basis. Or help and support the Patron to maintain their sphere of political influence in the village. Further, symbolic elements such as visiting each-other on social occasions, actions of care, which lead to emotional bonding were continued. Thus bhav-vyavhar vyavhar of non-equivalence help both to reduce their risks to livelihood and enable building of extended social networks and power of influence.

12 Understanding Reciprocal Exchange Both social logics the Maussian and Levi-Straussian as well as Bourdieu s perspective are found in the working of bhav-vyavhar. As local entitlements: obligated exchange of material and non material or emotional goods They minimize i i risks ik arising ii from disaster for bth both parties and act as social insurances by building relations of trust and reciprocity. Better understood as inter-subjective practices of adaptation to shared risks and impacts from disaster

13 Conclusion Local entitlement structures are diverse and affect capacities of individuals and social groups to cope wit the disaster. Local entitlement structures need to be included in any theory of resilience and adaptive capacities.

14 Thank you

15 References Adger, N. & Kelly, M. (1999) 'Social Vulnerability to Climate Change and the Architecture of Entitlements', Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies For Global Change, 4, pp Bourdieu, P. (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Breman, J. (1974) Patronage and Exploitation:Changing Agrarian Relations in South Gujarat. Berkeley: California University Press. Dumont, L. (1980) Homo Heirarchichus: The Caste System and its Implications. USA: University of Chicago. Gould, k. (1981) Rural Society in SouthEast India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Levi-Strauss, C. (1963) Structural Anthropology. USA: Basic Books. Mauss, M. (1969) The Gift. London: Cohen and West Ltd. Paton, D. (2006) 'Disaster Resilience:Integrating Individual, Community, Institutional, and Environmental Perspectives', in Paton, D. & Johnson, D. (eds.) Disaster Resilience:An Integrated Approach. Illinois, USa: Charles Thomas Publisher. Raheja, G. (1988) The Poison in the Gift. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Scott, J. (1976) The Moral Economy of the Peasant. USA: Yale University. Sahlins, M. (1965a) 'On the sociology of primitive exchange', in Banton, M. (ed.) The relevance of models for social anthropology. London: Tavistock.

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