Download Maya Children: Helpers at the Farm by Karen L. Kramer PDF

By Karen L. Kramer

One of the Maya of Xculoc, an remoted farming village within the lowland forests of the Yucat?n peninsula, little ones give a contribution to family construction in huge methods. therefore this village, the topic of anthropologist Karen Kramer's examine, offers a striking chance for knowing the economics of adolescence in a pre-modern agricultural surroundings. Drawing on a number theoretical views and wide information collected over decades, Kramer translates the shape, price, and results of kid's hard work during this maize-based tradition. She seems to be at once at kinfolk measurement and beginning spacing as they determine within the economics of households; and he or she considers the timing of kid's fiscal contributions and their position in underwriting the price of huge households. Kramer's findings--in specific, that the kids of Xculoc start to produce greater than they eat lengthy earlier than they marry and go away home--have a couple of fascinating implications for the research of relations reproductive judgements and parent-offspring clash, and for debates inside anthropology over kid's contributions in hunter/gatherer as opposed to agricultural societies. With its theoretical breadth, and its element on crop yields, reproductive histories, nutrition, paintings scheduling, and agricultural construction, this booklet units a brand new normal for measuring and studying baby productiveness in a subsistence farming group.

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Extra resources for Maya Children: Helpers at the Farm

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Even in environments that are less demanding from a child’s point of view, the benefits of an economy of scale that come from participating in a larger production unit may be essential to a child’s survival. Because of their small size and lack of experience, dietary independence of juveniles comes at a high cost. The juvenile period has been described as “a selection funnel into which many enter and few pass through” (Lancaster 1991:5). As such, the benefits of reducing juvenile mortality are high, from both the child’s and the parents’ perspectives.

Thus the length of the human juvenile period is where it is supposed to be, given adult life span (Blurton Jones and Marlowe 2002). From the point of view of size, however, explaining the length of the juvenile period is more problematic. Because large-bodied primates grow slower and longer than predicted by allometric rules, competing explanations have focused on the selective forces that precipitate expanded juvenility in light of mortality risks. Having a large adult body size is advantageous in lowering predation rates and adult mortality and in improving chances of surviving shortterm fluctuations in food availability (Pagel and Harvey 1993; Pereira and Fairbanks 1993; for size tradeoffs in humans, see Bogin 1999a; Ellison 2001).

1997; Ivey 2000; Kramer 2002). Turke’s (1988, 1989) seminal study among the Ifaluk (Micronesian islanders) first introduced human cooperative breeding to anthropology. Ifaluk girls are valuable helpers to their mothers. Using time-allocation data, Turke showed that mothers who bore female children early in their reproductive careers had greater completed fertility than if their firstborn children were boys. Of the C H I L D R E N A S H E L P E R S AT T H E N E S T 13 other relatively few empirical studies that place human reproductive strategies in the framework of cooperative breeding, some show that helpers alleviate constraints on mothers’ time but are less conclusive whether helpers have a direct effect on maternal reproductive success (Bove et al.

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