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Northwestern University (1989)

The behavior ecology of change among the Mukogodo of Kenya

Cronk, Lee Frederick

Titre : The behavior ecology of change among the Mukogodo of Kenya.

Auteur : Cronk, Lee Frederick

Université de soutenance : Northwestern University, USA

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy 1989

Between 1925 and 1936, the Mukogodo of Kenya were swiftly transformed from cave-dwelling foragers with a cushitic language to pastoralists with Maasai language and customs. The goal of the research was to learn why the Mukogodo made this transition, focusing on its possible relationship to Mukogodo reproductive strategies. The data were collected during more than a year of fieldwork between 1985 and 1987. The change was primarily a response by Mukogodo males to an increased rate of marriage of Mukogodo women to men from other groups and a shift in bridewealth payments from beehives to livestock. Because Mukogodo males were faced with a choice of either obtaining livestock or going without a wife, the change to pastoralism was essentially a mating strategy. Since their transition to pastoralism, the Mukogodo have found themselves at the bottom of a regional hierarchy of wealth, ethnic prestige, and reproductive opportunities. Other important groups in the area include the Samburu, Mumonyot, Ilng’wesi, and Digirri. These groups look down on the Mukogodo because they were recently hunters, and Mukogodo men generally have less livestock and fewer wives than men in neighboring groups. Mukogodo men must also pay higher bridewealth to marry women from the neighboring groups than men from those groups pay to marry Mukogodo women. As a result of this situation, Mukogodo women have higher mean reproductive success than Mukogodo men. Therefore, the Mukogodo present an opportunity to test the Trivers- Willard model of sex ratio manipulation, which predicts that parents will bias their parental investment in favor of the sex of offspring which has the best reproductive prospects. The data fit this prediction. First, the sex ratio of the 0-4 age group and the reported sex ratio at birth are both female-biased. Second, evidence from a dispensary and a clinic run by a Catholic mission both show that the Mukogodo take daughters for treatment more often than they take sons, and daughters may be nursed longer than sons. Other issues examined include the ethnohistory of the Mukogodo and their neighbors, modern Mukogodo society, and stated Mukogodo offspring sex preferences.

Mots clés : Pastoralist ; Mukogodo (African people) ; Maasai language USE Masai language ; Masai language ; Ethnology ; Demographics ; African history


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