How Do Hunter-Gatherer Children Learn Social and Gender Norms? A Meta-Ethnographic Review

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 52(2) SAGE Publications Published In Pages: 213-255
By Lew-Levy, Sheina, Lavi, Noa, Reckin, Rachel, Cristóbal-Azkarate, Jurgi, Ellis-Davies, Kate


This article is a meta-ethnographic non-quantitative review of 77 publications on 33 cultures from 5 continents. The study synthesizes and discusses the process of learning social and gender norms amongst hunter gatherer societies, with a particular focus on early, middle, and late learning in childhood. Findings suggest that in early infancy learning on sharing is guided by adults, after infancy and before childhood it is guided autonomously through playgroups, before final self-driven sex segregation and gender guided behavior sets in in late childhood and early adolescence. Moderating factors include gendered task assignment and negative/positive behavioral feedback from adults. There are nor formal hypothesis tests.


This meta-ethnographic review serves as a synthesis of the literature, providing qualitative analysis as a mode to support theory.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesOCM codes used in search: 860 "socialization", 850 "infancy and childhood", 153 "modification of behaviour, 828 "ethnopsychology"
Other Hunting and Gathering socities form the literature

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:noah.rossen