The economic development of traditional communities often has drastic social consequences. This dissertation documents and discusses the change from mobile swidden agriculture to cash cropping and consequent alterations in family and household among the Kekchi Maya of ? southern Belize. It is demonstrated that larger, more complex and more stable domestic groups have resulted from the increasing complexity, uncertainty and effort required in new forms of agricultural production. In the course of this discussion, a detailed account of Kekchi ethnohistory and colonial exploitation is presented, followed by quantitative analysis of present Kekchi agriculture, hunting and gathering, and livestock rearing. This data allows a reappraisal of previously unsupported theories of agricultural change and evolution in the lowland neotropics. The organization of village and domestic labor groups is then discussed in order to demonstrate the linkage between changing forms of production and new domestic forms and changing relationships between household members. In the last chapter the modern Kekchi adaptation is placed in an historical and sociopolitical context by reference to the ways in which settlement pattern and migration have reflected a balance between external forces and the internal organization of Kekchi communities.
Keywords: swidden agriculture, Kekchi Maya, southern Belize, farming communities, organization
Suggested APA reference: Wilks, R. (1981). Agriculture, Ecology and Domestic Organization among the Kekchi Maya. The University of Arizona: Doctoral Dissertation.