Social change, cultural evolution, weaving apprenticeship, and development: informal education across three generations and 42 years in a Maya community

Ashley E. Maynard, Patricia M. Greenfield, Carla P. Childs, Michael Weinstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analyzing three sets of video data collected in one Maya community, we examined apprenticeship and learning of backstrap loom weaving over three generations spanning the years 1970 to 2012. Like many cultural groups, the Maya of Chiapas are experiencing rapid sociodemographic shifts. Three generations of girls (N = 134) were observed at their looms: in the 1970 subsistence economy; in the transition to a commercial economy in the 1990s; and in 2012, when the commercial economy required formal education. Multilevel models showed that intergenerational sociodemographic change - increased time in school, greater involvement in the money economy, and decreased family size - changed weaving apprenticeship, which, in turn, was related to changes in characteristics of learners. In 2012, weaving learners received more explanations, praise, and body instruction from their teachers. Learners, in turn, asked more questions. However, these changes came at a cost - the gradual loss of weaving as an everyday subsistence practice and art form. Tracing intergenerational change over three generations, this study makes a unique contribution to an understanding of cultural evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-105
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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