Status determinants, social incongruity and economic transition: Gender, relative material wealth and heterogeneity in the cultural lifestyle of 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

    For small-scale societies, transitions from self-sufficiency to cash-based labor in market economies have been associated with the exacerbation of existing, and the emergence of new, social incongruities. Social incongruity occurs when two or more of a person’s status determinants (e.g. age, gender, wealth) conflict, resulting in reduced social status. A central focus of theory and research on social incongruity is the relationship between the cultural prototype of what is needed to live a good life–or lifestyle–and status determinants. Assessment of status determinants is challenging because of their relative nature at multiple levels of analysis. This study uses theory and methods from cognitive anthropology to investigate whether and how individual knowledge of a cultural lifestyle prototype conflicts with status determinants at two levels of economic transition among 101 adults from a small-scale society of forager-horticulturalists in Bolivian Amazonia, the Tsimane’. Results support cultural consensus in a 38-item model labeled market lifestyle (explaining 72.7% of sample variance). While the model includes both overlapping traditional (e.g. weaving) and market-related (e.g. education) items and behaviors, most market alternatives were rated higher. When market lifestyle was tested for conflicts with other status determinants only gender predicted variation (women had 13% more accurate knowledge). Thematically, when market lifestyle was stratified by gender, men rated several types of relational wealth higher than women did. Analysis of residual agreement in a second factor of lifestyle revealed heterogeneity in the form of a subcultural syncretic lifestyle model (explaining 18.2% of additional variance). Participants whose knowledge better matched syncretic lifestyle rated traditional items and market alternatives closer to parity. Results show the syncretic model correlated with subgroups having lower material wealth and less market integration. Thematically, their ratings deviated most from market lifestyle towards traditional forms of livelihood, relational wealth, spiritual beliefs and embodied wealth.
  • 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: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-07-02