This study is aimed at developing an understanding of the consequences of the pandemic on families' socioeconomic resilience, and the strategies adopted by the families in overcoming social vulnerabilities amid uncertainty.
The materials for this study consist of semi-structured interviews with 21 families spread across the South Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Families in the study represent four different income levels, namely very high, high, middle and low, and who also work in the informal sector. Each family has at least 1 or more members who fall into the vulnerable category (children, the elderly, people with disabilities unemployed or having potential economic vulnerability).
Two main findings are outlined. Regardless of their socioeconomic status, many of the families analyzed adopted similar strategies to remain resilient. Among the strategies are classifying the urgency of purchasing consumer goods based on financial capacity rather than needs, leveraging digital economic opportunities as alternative sources of income, utilizing more extensive informal networks and going into debt. Another interesting finding shows that the pandemic, to some extent, has saved poor families from social insecurity. This is supported by evidence showing that social distancing measures during the pandemic have reduced the intensity of sociocultural activities, which require invited community members to contribute financially. The reduction of sociocultural activities in the community has provided more potential savings for the poor.
In this study, informants who provided information about their family conditions represent a major segment of the workforce and tend to be technologically savvy and younger, due to the use of Zoom as a platform for conducting interviews. Therefore, there may be a bias in the results. Another limitation is that since the interviewees were recommended by our social network in the fields, there is a risk of a distorted selection of participants.
This study offers insights that are critical in helping to analyze family patterns in developing countries in mitigating the risks and uncertainties caused by COVID-19. In addition, the literature on social policy and development could benefit from further research on COVID-19 as an alternative driver to identify mechanisms that could bring about change that would result in “security.” Critical questions and limitations of this study are presented at the end of the paper to be responded to as future research agenda.
The authors would like to thank the Department of Social Development and Welfare, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia; Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong SAR; and Research and Community-Engagement Center, Universitas Bangka Belitung, Indonesia for the support provided.
Yuda, T.K. and Munir, M. (2023), "Social insecurity and varieties of family resilience strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 7/8, pp. 756-776. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-08-2022-0201
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