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The multiple dimensions of male social status in an Amazonian society Christopher von Ruedena, Michael Gurvena, Hillard Kaplanb Presented by: Maddie Rauzi.

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Presentation on theme: "The multiple dimensions of male social status in an Amazonian society Christopher von Ruedena, Michael Gurvena, Hillard Kaplanb Presented by: Maddie Rauzi."— Presentation transcript:

1 The multiple dimensions of male social status in an Amazonian society Christopher von Ruedena, Michael Gurvena, Hillard Kaplanb Presented by: Maddie Rauzi and Caitlane Gangstad

2 Introduction Classification by social status is universal in humans. Certain individuals consume more resources, get better mates, and are central in group decision making. Women and men compete for social status (This study only looks at men). Social Status = relative access to resources within a social group “These individuals have a greater relative ability to inflict costs (i.e., dominance) or confer benefits (i.e., prestige) on others.” What does this mean? Status hierarchies can be looked at as “agreements”. Need not be static

3 Introduction Humans vs Nonhumans Nonhumans = status purely from physical dominance, alliances made in order to support this physical dominance. Humans = Cooperative sharing of food, information, labor, etc. Deference given to individuals that “share the love” – voluntarily share commodities or skills. Why are there different avenues to acquiring status? Is this seen in modern forager societies?

4 Culture and Economy Tsimane live in areas of lowland Bolivia Ton'tumsi-a more acculturated Tsimane village – Some Trismane entrepreneurs buy things in San Borja and resell them to villagers. – Access to public education ~40% of Tsimane men survive to 60+ The hunting kill rate peaks at 40 and declines afterwards Lack intergroup warfare

5 Hypothesis Proxies for dominance/status: – Success in dyadic physical confrontation – Getting one's way in the context of a conflict within a group – Influence in the context of a community-wide dispute – Respect Respect-“other people's acknowledgment of an individual's social status: his or her relative ability to inflict costs or confer benefits on others.”

6 Hypothesis Continued What was measured: – age, physical size food production (hunting ability), level of acculturation (Spanish fluency), prosocial personality traits, social support (number of allies) Predictions: – Physical size  winning dyadic fights – Number of allies  winning group conflicts – Acculturation  community influence – Prosocial behavior  community influence – Social status will increase until 40’s, then decline, with each proxy declining at a different rate

7 Methods 57 adult men over 18 out of a 300 person village – 8/57 were unmarried – None had more than one wife Raters did not overestimate the qualities of family members

8 Demographic data allowed for kinship analysis Measured bicep and chest circumference Men were asked to read a sentence in Tsimane and questioned about fluency in Spanish Methods

9 Photo ranked other men in the village – Answered yes or no to photos of 16 men Hunting ability Being a hard worker Being funny Keeping promises Trustworthiness Generosity in meat sharing Generosity in lending money Giving good advice How often they visited Methods

10 – Ranked photos of 8 men on: Fighting ability Whether the individual gets his way in a group dispute Level of influence in the community Whether the individual is well respected Whether the individual is likely to have more allies in the event of a conflict Methods

11 Results Physical size and social support  winning dyadic physical confrontations Social support (and physical size)  getting one’s way in a group Social support  community-wide influence * Acculturation  community-wide influence Social support  respect Food-production  respect Food production and acculturation covary Prosocial  all four (when concerning food, then  respect) Note: larger physical size, acculturation, and prosocial behavior associated with social support. Mediating effect.

12 Results Age does not linearly predict any of the four proxies.

13 Results

14 Discussion Social support independent than physical size when predicting success in fighting because a fight could lead to both parties’ supporters retaliating and fighting? Having more allies actually makes you seem more formidable? Physical size and social support both important in getting one’s way in a group an intermediate between dyadic fight and community influence? Social support & community influence Probably because sharing decisions that lead to reciprocal altruism lead to strong alliance formations.

15 Discussion Skills gained through education are becoming increasingly important for influencing the community - provide exclusive access to knowledge germane to community- wide debates - increase opportunities to gain and flaunt material wealth. - gets lots of allies However, it is hunting that earns you the most respect. (Educated = nouveau riche). Age does not lend a lot of social influence because of lack of education, when it used to be that shamanism and hunting knowledge was valuable. “The Tale of Two Leaders” - there seem to be multiple ways for gaining status, and its best to cover all bases.

16 Conclusions

17 High status leads to fitness benefits - Among the Tsimane, male-status hierarchies are best viewed as multidimensional. - Dyadic fighting ability is determined largely by physical size, but the ability to get one's way in a group dispute, community influence, and respect arise primarily from social support. - Even the ability to win a dyadic fight is viewed as indistinguishable from the strength of one's alliances. - Among the Tsimane, the oldest adults do not wield the most social status. Older men do not have either the physical size or market-related skills, which has eclipsed traditional skills in generating community-wide influence. - However, hunting ability produces respect whereas level of acculturation does not. Inequalities in privately held wealth may eventually deemphasize status- leveling norms, leading to “polarization of social hierarchies” (social classes).

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