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Lifestyle and social hierarchy during economic transition: Gender, relative material wealth and heterogeneity among Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists

Resource Type
Dataset : observational data, survey data
  • Schultz, Alan (Baylor University)
  • Gravlee, Clarence (University of Florida)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
    • Award Number: 1154738
Free Keywords
cultural consensus analysis; lifestyle; culture change; market integration; rapid economic change; small-scale societies; cultural competence; Tsimane'; Bolivia; South America; Tsimane; Chimane; residual agreement; economic transition; social incongruence
  • Abstract

    In small-scale societies economic transitions from self-sufficiency to market-integrated cash-based systems have been associated with the exacerbation of existing, and the emergence of new, social incongruities. Social incongruence occurs when an individual’s positions in two or more social hierarchies are in conflict, with deleterious effects on health and well-being. A central focus of theory and research on social incongruence has been the relationship between lifestyle–or what is needed to live a good life–and other social hierarchies (e.g. stratification based on age, gender or wealth). Assessment of multiple overlapping social hierarchies is challenging because most are limitedly distributed across lives, cultures and contexts. In this study, I use theory and methods from cognitive anthropology to investigate potential conflicts between lifestyle and other social hierarchies among 101 adult Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists living at two levels of economic transition in Bolivian Amazonia. Results confirm moderate consensus in a 38-item model of market lifestyle (explaining 72.7% of sample variance) elicited from community members. Market lifestyle consists of a mix of overlapping traditional (e.g. weaving) and market-related (e.g. education) items with a preference toward market items. Analyses also reveal a subcultural model (explaining 18.2% of additional variance), syncretic lifestyle, which is marked by elevated ratings for traditional items compared to the market model. Among tested variables, only women’s knowledge of market lifestyle better approximated the consensus. In comparison, knowledge of syncretic lifestyle was associated with respondents relative material wealth and residence in the less market-integrated of two communities. Elevated ratings for items preferred by groups associated with syncretic lifestyle fit primarily into two categories 1) traditional social and subsistence customs and 2) traditional spiritual and health customs. This study deepens our knowledge of Tsimane’ lifestyle and social hierarchy and highlights the need for more research in small-scale societies on overlapping social hierarchies.
  • Weighting

    To obtain the cultural ratings key in the cultural consensus analysis, the informal model was used, which requires that the ratings responses are weighted according to individual competence values using a linear model. The estimated answers are based on the first set of factor scores from a factor analysis of the ratings correlation matrix. Weights were calculated using the UCINET 6 software package.
  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: Of the 34 eligible community members approached to participate in free-listing interviews, 32 of 34 completed interviews, or 94.1%. Of the 75 eligible community members approached to participate in ratings surveys, 69 completed the survey, or 92%.
  • Technical Information

    Presence of Common Scales: Exhaustive free-listing with prompts and a Likert-type scale for ratings surveys.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2010-09-17 / 2013-04-10
    Time Period: Fri Sep 17 00:00:00 EDT 2010--Wed Apr 10 00:00:00 EDT 2013 (September 2012 to April 2013)
  • 2013-03-06 / 2013-04-10
    Collection Date(s): Wed Mar 06 00:00:00 EST 2013--Wed Apr 10 00:00:00 EDT 2013 (Cultural consensus ratings surveys)
  • 2012-09-17 / 2013-04-06
    Collection Date(s): Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 EDT 2012--Sat Apr 06 00:00:00 EDT 2013 (Free-list interviews)
Geographic Coverage
  • Tsimane' Moseten Native Community Land (TCO), Beni Department, Bolivia
Sampled Universe
Adult Tsimane' forager-horticulturalists aged 15-75 years from two communities (one a two-hour roundtrip to the nearest market town and another, a two-day roundtrip to the nearest market town) along the Maniqui River in Tsimane' Moseten Native Community Land (TCO), Beni Department, Bolivia, South America.Smallest Geographic Unit: community or household
Life-stage purposive quota sampling based on three age-groups (15-34; 35-49; >50), two genders, and local third-party evaluated wealth (three third-party evaluators confirmed each respondent wealth classification; options were dichotomous: higher wealth than most or lower wealth than most) in two communities.
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview~~mixed mode~~on-site questionnaire~~paper and pencil interview (PAPI)~~

    All data was collected by A. Schultz, in the Tsimane' language, with the assistance of experienced Tsimane' translators (Ignacio Huasna Tayo; Orlando Durvano Tayo).


Update Metadata: 2019-07-02 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2019-02-12

Schultz, Alan; Gravlee, Clarence (2019): Lifestyle and social hierarchy during economic transition: Gender, relative material wealth and heterogeneity among Tsimane’ forager-horticulturalists. Version: 2. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.