The social context of Lamaholots' fertility desires

2017-03-03T01:22:29Z (GMT) by Koten, Philipus Panda
This thesis explores the social context of the relatively high fertility desires among the Lamaholots, a people in Eastern Indonesia. Over half of the married couples participating in this study desired at least four living children in 2013 (Table 8.5). Also, about the same proportion of those who had come to this desired number wanted no more children (Table 8.6). These desired figures are higher than the national (2.6) and even regional (Nusa Tenggara Timur Province: 3.3) total fertility rate in 2012. This study also discusses their prioritized values of children (VOC), a mediating concept between one’s social contexts and fertility desire. Primary data for analysis was first collected through 12 Focus Group Discussions, through which people’s 15 VOC were generated. The VOC were later regrouped into six categories: continuity, cohesion, self-enrichment, emotion, economic, and religious. A face to face survey of the VOC prioritization and intent for another child was then carried out with 1,040 respondents. In-depth interviews with 19 individuals, to discuss issues surfacing in the previous stages, ended the data collection. This study confirms that the Lamaholots still value the roles of children to carry on the family/clan name and to secure their old age, leading to their preference for a relatively large family. Living according to the clan system, poor economic conditions, and cultural norms such as respect for elderly parents are conducive to the VOC prioritization. With such findings, the study helps raise issues that need to be addressed in the strategic effort for lowering fertility. Its major theoretical contribution is its emphasis on the importance of ethnicity and the use of the VOC concept in fertility studies.