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Quantifying the relationship between food sharing practices and socio-ecological variables in small-scale societies: A cross-cultural multi-methodological approach
PLOS ONE. 2019, V. 14, n. 5, e0216302
Public Library Science
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This article presents a cross-cultural study of the relationship among the subsistence strategies, the environmental setting and the food sharing practices of 22 modern small-scale societies located in America (n = 18) and Siberia (n = 4). Ecological, geographical and economic variables of these societies were extracted from specialized literature and the publicly available D-PLACE database. The approach proposed comprises a variety of quantitative methods, ranging from exploratory techniques aimed at capturing relationships of any type between variables, to network theory and supervised-learning predictive modelling. Results provided by all techniques consistently show that the differences observed in food sharing practices across the sampled populations cannot be explained just by the differential distribution of ecological, geographical and economic variables. Food sharing has to be interpreted as a more complex cultural phenomenon, whose variation over time and space cannot be ascribed only to local adaptation.
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