Food sharing networks in lowland Nicaragua: An application of the social relations model to count data

Jeremy M. Koster*, George Leckie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
355 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Previous research on food sharing in small-scale societies provides support for multiple evolutionary hypotheses, but evolutionary anthropologists have devoted relatively little attention to the broader relational context of inter-household transfers of food. The present research observes transfers of meat over a yearlong period among 25 households of indigenous Mayangna and Miskito horticulturalists in Nicaragua. To analyze these data, we extend the multilevel formulation of the social relations model to count data, namely the number of portions of meat exchanged between households. Along with other covariates, we examine the effect of an "association index," which reflects the amount of time that households interact with one another. The association index exhibits a positive effect on sharing, and our overall results indicate that food sharing networks largely correspond to kin-based networks of social interaction, suggesting that food sharing is embedded in broader social relationships between households. We discuss possible extensions of our methodological approach, as appropriate for research on food sharing and social network analysis more broadly. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Networks
Volume38
Early online date18 Apr 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Association networks
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Cooperation
  • Count data
  • Multilevel model
  • Social relations model
  • MIXED-EFFECTS MODELS
  • RECIPROCAL ALTRUISM
  • BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY
  • LABOR EXCHANGE
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • TRANSFERS
  • KINSHIP
  • EVOLUTION
  • INDONESIA
  • FORAGERS

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