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  1. Toys as Teachers: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Object Use and Enskillment in Hunter–Gatherer SocietiesRiede, Felix - Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2023 - 2 Hypotheses

    The article discusses the role of toys and tools in the development of skills and cultural transmission in hunter-gatherer societies. The authors present a cross-cultural inventory of objects made for and by hunter-gatherer children and adolescents, finding that toys and tools were primarily handled outside of explicit pedagogical contexts, and there is little evidence for formalised apprenticeships. The authors suggest that children's self-directed interactions with objects, especially during play, have a critical role in early-age enskillment. Both boys and girls tend to use objects in work and play that emulate the gendered division of labor in their communities, and many objects made by and for children had full-scale counterparts. Finally, the authors argue that the peer group is crucial to skill acquisition in hunter-gatherer societies.

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  2. A Soul by Any Other Name: The Name-Soul Concept in Circumpolar PerspectiveWalsh, Matthew J. - Cross-Cultural Research, 2018 - 1 Hypotheses

    Name-soul belief systems operate under the belief that deceased ancestors will be reincarnated amongst newborn members of the community. This informs the naming process of children amongst these societies. This study samples 11 hunting/gathering/fishing societies with this belief system, comparing and contrasting how the systems are of the same or different origins. Utilizing a neo-functionalist theoretical model the researchers argue that this system reinforces kinship bonds, as new members are viewed as old members returning home, and that the returned ancestors would provide strength and protection to the newborn from more malevolent spirits. The researchers theorize that this practice, in a functionalist anthropology lens, is a way to deal with constant mortality trauma, and to strengthen group cohesion amongst often mobile groups.

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