Margo Russell suggested that the “household has become dangerously reified” (1993: 755). She had a point. As she and many commentators have explained, identifying “the household” in many African settings is not straightforward and, indeed, may be misleading because it fails to take account of linkages across a wider kinship or familial group (Guyer and Peters 1987; Martin and Beittel 1987; and, more recently, Müller 2004; McEwan and Samuels 2006; Hosegood et al. 2007). However, as Coast, et al. (2009: 1) have recently stated, “Household surveys are the mainstay of micro-level data for developing countries” and while the use of the household as a unit for data collection has well-documented limitations the important place of “the household” in research as well as for national health surveillance surveys suggests that developing a better understanding of how to define households, and distinguish among different types, is a worthwhile exercise. Demographers such as Sara Randall and Ernestina Coast have undertaken extensive research to understand the use of different definitions of the household in survey and census data, and whether they reflect the household and family structures in Europe and Africa (see, for example, Randall et al. 2011), and this chapter builds on this existing body of work.
|Title of host publication||Methodological Challenges and New Approaches to Research in International Development|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan UK|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|