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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Social Relationships and Rural Livelihood Security in Afghanistan

Kantor, Paula; Pain, Adam


This article examines the importance of a range of types of social relationships, characterised by differing levels of privilege, power, obligation and reciprocity, to rural Afghan livelihood security. Specifically, it explores how rural Afghan households in Kandahar and Badakhshan provinces negotiate within their diverse social environments, characterised by varied forms of institutional weakness and local power structures, to achieve some measure of physical and economic security. It draws from household case study data to assess how households are integrated into social relationships of variable quality and usefulness and under what conditions these relationships facilitate autonomous versus dependent security. In doing so, the article explores the importance of context, linking the details of household experiences to their village and provincial locations. The findings provide an understanding of the local social hierarchies and relations with which development actors must engage to successfully design and deliver poverty reduction programming, something which has been little evident to date, particularly in national policymaking processes and post-2014 transition strategies.


Social relationships; livelihood security; Afghanistan; poverty reduction

Published in

Journal of South Asian Development
2012, Volume: 7, number: 2, pages: 161-182

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG1 No poverty
    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Public Administration Studies

    Publication identifier


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