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The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy ; 43(7/8):756-776, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-20243652


PurposeThis 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.Design/methodology/approachThe 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).FindingsTwo 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.Research limitations/implicationsIn 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.Originality/valueThis 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 International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy ; 43(5/6):537-549, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2324331


PurposeThe penetration of technology and the strengthening of evidence-based policies have paved the way for the automated delivery of social services. This study aims to discuss the inherent risks of this automatization, particularly those associated with the discrimination, exclusion and inequality problem, which the authors package under the theoretical umbrella of a digital welfare state (DWS).Design/methodology/approachThis conceptual article reviews the literature on the welfare DWS, with an empirical focus on the recent experience of selected countries from India, Kenya and Sweden. These countries reflect three different types of welfare regimes but are connected by the same digital social risk. The authors' exploration also includes questions about what this DWS has in common with and how it differs from the previous era. This article illustrates that there has been a very similar trajectory in regards to the development of the DWS and the associated risks in the examined countries.FindingsDWS has triggered new social risks (e.g. discrimination, exclusion and inequality in welfare access) that are a result of data breaches experienced by citizens. Further, vulnerable groups in the digital age should be viewed not only as those who lack access to welfare services, such as education, health and employment, but also as those without internet access, without digital skills and excluded from the DWS system.Originality/valueThe article calls for the development of scholarly research into the DWS in particular and the contemporary one in general. The authors also predict that a critical aspect of the future regime typology rests in the ability to mobilize resources to address contemporary digital risks, as every country is equally vulnerable to them. Overall, this article can be considered to be one of the initial works that focus on cross-national comparison across different meta-welfare regimes.