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Ethnobotanical knowledge acquisition during daily chores: the firewood collection of pastoral Maasai girls in Southern Kenya

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, January 2017
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Title
Ethnobotanical knowledge acquisition during daily chores: the firewood collection of pastoral Maasai girls in Southern Kenya
Published in
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, January 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13002-016-0131-x
Pubmed ID
Authors

Xiaojie Tian

Abstract

Researchers considering children's traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) highlighted the importance of examining children's daily activities as empirical contexts for its acquisition. Many of them evaluated children's TEK acquisition linearly as gain or loss, and paid less attention to the adaptive nature of this knowledge system and the social relationships arising from its acquisition processes. This study approaches children's TEK acquisition considering these abovementioned aspects. I utilize pastoral Maasai girls' firewood collection as a case study, and analyze the personal, interpersonal and cultural institutional aspects of girls' Ethnobotanical knowledge (EK) acquisition within this chore. Participant observation and unstructured interviews were used for data collection. I joined 12 girls (6 to 15 years old) on day trips for firewood collection, and documented their participation and performance during this chore. I observed interactions among girls and between girls and women concerning this activity, and investigated girls' perceptions of local wood species via their descriptions. I also informally interviewed 15 women, between 20 and 80 years old on their evaluation of the wood species to be used as firewood. Current diet change and gender-age roles in chore participation in Maasai society require females to continually participate in firewood collection. Within this social context, girls intensively participated in day trips of firewood collection during the long-term vacation in the dry season. They collected a sizable amount from 24 plant species, and generated EK through personal sensual experiences, such as fragrance, hardness, and heaviness of different wood species. They acquired local taxonomy and terminology of different wood species, and learned others preferences for wood species used as fuel through interpersonal communication. These personal and interpersonal aspects, together with current diet change and division of labor within gender-age roles in Maasai society, provide EK with multi-dimensional meanings in current subsistence strategies. Results of this study show that girls acquired EK with multi-dimensional meanings through daily firewood collection, which cannot be only evaluated in a linear manner. Future studies focused on children's TEK acquisition should consider the personal, interpersonal, and cultural institutional aspects of this adaptive knowledge system and children's roles within it.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 59 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 59 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 12 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 15%
Student > Doctoral Student 7 12%
Researcher 6 10%
Professor 3 5%
Other 8 14%
Unknown 14 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 11 19%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 7 12%
Social Sciences 7 12%
Nursing and Health Professions 4 7%
Arts and Humanities 3 5%
Other 11 19%
Unknown 16 27%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 February 2017.
All research outputs
#16,701,006
of 18,883,809 outputs
Outputs from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#645
of 694 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#314,044
of 374,037 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
#5
of 5 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,883,809 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 694 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 5.1. This one is in the 1st percentile – i.e., 1% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
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