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The evolutionary economics of intermarriage

Intermarriage is a primary driver of gene flow and cultural exchange in our species. However, despite strong interest in kinship, exchange and intergroup relations, the potential role of intermarriage has not been systematically studied nor has its importance highlighted in the evolutionary social sciences. Core questions to consider include: What drives individuals to marry outside their cultural group despite the risks involved? What socioecological conditions may lead to norms favoring marriage within vs. outside one’s cultural group? And what consequences does intermarriage have on interpersonal and intergroup relations?  

Dr Sarah Alami’s research addresses the above questions in the context of a multiethnic village located at the intersection of the Amazon and the Andean highlands of Bolivia, where resource access and production strategies vary between indigenous Moseten and first- or second-generation Aymara-Quechua migrants. Using data on marriage histories, household wealth and income, social networks, and attitudes towards ethnic diversity, Dr Alami examines the drivers of intermarriage and its consequences for the individuals and groups involved. 


Dr Sarah Alami, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P)

Sarah Alami is an evolutionary anthropologist who conducts fieldwork in Morocco and Bolivia. Her work focuses on kinship, intermarriage, and intergroup relations; women’s leadership and cooperation; biodemography and changes in health behaviours and outcomes; and the integration of participatory research to development initiatives. Sarah holds an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently a Research and Education Fellow at the School of Collective Intelligence, UM6P, Benguerir, Morocco, and is affiliated with the Tsimane Health and Life History Project.


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