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Family and Group Dynamics in a Pastoralist Society

Du, Juan; (2017) Family and Group Dynamics in a Pastoralist Society. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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How people survive and behave in different environment are some questions that Human Behavior Ecology seeks to answer. The choices that humans make in such conditions can either be considering parental and economical investments, or the pursuit of self or group interest. Using a Tibetan Pastoralist Society as a case study, this thesis explores how Tibetans adapt their behaviour to different contexts, from an evolutionary ecological, anthropological and demographic perspective. I start the thesis with a brief history and demographical presentation of how these Tibetan herders behave within and outside domestic life. The main analysis part starts from which gender get more parental care, by looking at duration of breastfeeding and the interbirth intervals. I find female-biased parental investment. Possible reasons are the high female workloads and the improved social status of women derived from the high economical contribution made by them. The next analysis focusing on how wealth flows, the fertility and the length of the trial time affects the stability of marriages. Then I examine the effects of kin on child well-being. Within domestic life, concepts like ‘Grandmother Hypothesis’ and ‘Mother Hypothesis’ are well-documented. While this research makes a contrary finding that it is the older male family members who are invested more in child caring than the females. The next analysis considers questions beyond domestic life by examining herders’ social networks. I investigate the motivations behind Tibetans who choose to herd in groups, and others who prefer to herd alone. Economic gift games are used to explore the cooperation strategy within villages, whether pastoralist prefer to share limited resources with their genetic relatives over others. The analysis concluded that stated social norms are slow to change, while actual individual behaviours appear to evolve faster, responding to recent social and political changes in the region.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Family and Group Dynamics in a Pastoralist Society
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Parental investment, Herding system, Grandparents, Cooperation
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10024991
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