Maya Children: Helpers at the Farm
Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Social Science - 272 pages
Among the Maya of Xculoc, an isolated farming village in the lowland forests of the Yucatan peninsula, children contribute to household production in considerable ways. Thus this village, the subject of anthropologist Karen Kramer's study, affords a remarkable opportunity for understanding the economics of childhood in a pre-modern agricultural setting. Drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives and extensive data gathered over many years, Kramer interprets the form, value, and consequences of children's labor in this maize-based culture. She looks directly at family size and birth spacing as they figure in the economics of families; and she considers the timing of children's economic contributions and their role in underwriting the cost of large families. Kramer's findings--in particular, that the children of Xculoc begin to produce more than they consume long before they marry and leave home--have a number of interesting implications for the study of family reproductive decisions and parent-offspring conflict, and for debates within anthropology over children's contributions in hunter/gatherer versus agricultural societies. With its theoretical breadth, and its detail on crop yields, reproductive histories, diet, work scheduling, and agricultural production, this book sets a new standard for measuring and interpreting child productivity in a subsistence farming community.
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1 Children as Helpers at the Nest
2 Sources of Variation in Childrens Time Allocation
3 Situating the Maya
4 Maya Families
5 Sampling the Population
6 How Maya Children Spend their Time
7 Production and Consumption across the Life Course
10 Do Helpers Really Help?
The Unfolding World of the Maya
Explanation of Scan and FocalFollow Variables
Adjusting an Analysis of Variance for Proportional Data
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activities adjusted adults agricultural allocate Appendix Table average Bangladesh become behavior benefit birth boys changes Chapter chil child children’s economic collected compared constraints consume consumption contributions cooperative cost cycle demand demographic dependents direct domestic economic effect efficiency effort energy estimate example fertility field Figure foraging girls given groups growth harvest helpers household human included increase individual investment land learning leave less living maize male and female marriage Maya Maya children mean measure methods mortality mothers observation occur older parents participate percent period planting population Press processing production proportion question recorded relative reported reproductive require sample sexual maturity siblings social spend spent subsistence tasks tion University variation village wage labor weight women Xculoc young children younger Yucatan