Event Title

Presentation, "Subsistence and sexual division of labor among the Batek: past and present compared"

Start Date

11-6-2014 2:45 PM

End Date

11-6-2014 4:00 PM

Description

ABSTRACT -- Over the past few decades, there have been rapid changes in the socioecology and culture of Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia who once hunted and gathered almost exclusively. In particular, the transition to market-based subsistence activities has dramatically altered the once strongly egalitarian gender roles of men and women. Here we address how gender roles in subsistence activities among the Batek have changed over time. First, we examined the sexual division of labor during foraging by Batek from Kirk Endicott's dataset collected in 1975-1976. Hunting, gathering, and fishing returns were examined with respect to gender during a 91-day period and daily nutritional profiles were constructed. According to models in human behavioral ecology, sexual division of labor enhances the efficiency of cooperative production through complementary work effort, thus providing a balanced nutritional profile of carbohydrates and proteins to group members. We test these models and then use the results as a baseline for comparison to discuss ongoing and future fieldwork with settled and foraging Batek in Pahang and Kelantan. Increased integration into the market economy and settlement near Malay villages has noticeably altered the subsistence patterns and sexual division of labor of some Batek groups, yet many aspects of their highly egalitarian society endure.

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Jun 11th, 2:45 PM Jun 11th, 4:00 PM

Presentation, "Subsistence and sexual division of labor among the Batek: past and present compared"

ABSTRACT -- Over the past few decades, there have been rapid changes in the socioecology and culture of Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia who once hunted and gathered almost exclusively. In particular, the transition to market-based subsistence activities has dramatically altered the once strongly egalitarian gender roles of men and women. Here we address how gender roles in subsistence activities among the Batek have changed over time. First, we examined the sexual division of labor during foraging by Batek from Kirk Endicott's dataset collected in 1975-1976. Hunting, gathering, and fishing returns were examined with respect to gender during a 91-day period and daily nutritional profiles were constructed. According to models in human behavioral ecology, sexual division of labor enhances the efficiency of cooperative production through complementary work effort, thus providing a balanced nutritional profile of carbohydrates and proteins to group members. We test these models and then use the results as a baseline for comparison to discuss ongoing and future fieldwork with settled and foraging Batek in Pahang and Kelantan. Increased integration into the market economy and settlement near Malay villages has noticeably altered the subsistence patterns and sexual division of labor of some Batek groups, yet many aspects of their highly egalitarian society endure.