The paper discusses ten narratives developed with households from two distinct communities (Kol 'tribals' and Muslims) resident in two villages in Koraon Block, Utter Pradesh. It compares the structural position of these two neighbourhoods and the five neighbouring households in each. With an emphasis on the agency of individuals and communities, we argue that, in spite of structural similarities, the households diverge markedly in their approaches to poverty and progress. While shocks (sickness, accident, violence and social humiliation) can not themselves be controlled, households differ in their approach to shock-absorption and management, in their efforts and ability to upgrade and to sustain the benefits of upgrades, and in their approach to government and patron-mediators. Households absorb or cope with shocks and uncertainty by means of affiliation to patrons (in the case of Kols) and the wider clan or community (in the case of Muslims). Attitudes to risk then appear to depend on the extent to which risk is traded off against security; while for Kols the trade-off is high (discouraging risk), for Muslims it is low. Kols and Muslims each sustain their membership to their respective spheres of relations, the former broadly hierarchical and the latter, reciprocal or 'horizontal'. Far from being indicative of incomplete or imperfect markets, these spheres of \"non-market\" relations afford some protection from the highly competitive markets in to which both communities must sell and the associated limits on opportunities to add value and accumulate.
Making & breaking poverty in Koraon, Utter Pradesh. [Draft], presented at Staying Poor: Chronic Poverty and Development Policy, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, iii + 18 pp.