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Title: Time allocation and domestic work among Maasai women : an evolutionary approach
Author: Biran, Adam
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1997
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An observational study of Maasai women and girls was carried out in an agro-pastoral community in Northern Tanzania. This study reveals that the majority of female labour time during daylight hours is consumed by the task of child-care and the domestic subsistence activities of wood and water collection. The allocation of time among domestic activities is examined from an evolutionary perspective. Demographic data collected in this study allow patterns of child-care to be related to the degree of genetic relatedness which exists between infants and their carers. It is argued that the investment of time in the care of children by non-maternal carers represents an altruistic behaviour for which the ultimate explanation lies in the selective advantage conferred upon the carer. This advantage may take the form of an improvement in the inclusive fitness of the carer or a benefit to be derived from a reciprocal act at some future time. The patterns of domestic wood and water collection are examined. The results suggest that the contribution made by a girl during her period of residence in her natal household is sufficient to cover not only the additional demands for these resources which she represents but also those of a sibling. This finding is discussed in the context of competing evolutionary and economic theories of demographic change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available