Archives for posts with tag: albanians

remember that hmong shooting the other day? when five people were shot?:

“Hmong shootings may have been motivated by grudge”

“A grudge could be the motive in a shooting that put five people in the hospital.

“‘It is a wake-up call to all of us,’ said Linda Lor.

“She is the former executive director for the Hmong Association in Tulsa. On Saturday night there was a Xiong family reunion with all of the clans. In the Hmong community, a family group is known by clans and are divided by last names….

“‘We try in every possible way to mediate the problem through the clan leaders,’ said Lor.

“She said there are about 10 Hmong clans in Tulsa and 200 families. The family leader of the clan will help resolve issues such as marriages, divorce or children or they go to court, which will cost money. In some cases, they make a big statement but are not known to resort to violence like the incident on Saturday….

“She said there was a grudge with the Lees that no one knew about it….”
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this is not a big surprise:

“Arab municipal elections [in israel] dependent on family connections, not ideology”

“Arab towns and villages are likely to have a higher turnout in next week’s municipal elections, compared to Jewish areas. However, unlike Jewish areas, where votes are seen as based on ideology, party, or the experience and skills of the candidates, Arab areas tend to vote for candidates based on family or hamula (‘clan’) connections.

“In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Sami Miaari, an Israeli Arab lecturer at Tel Aviv University in the department of labor studies and a research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, said that participation in Arab municipalities will most likely show a 90 percent participation rate.

“The elections in the Arab villages are a struggle between clans and families, with the more powerful families winning the most votes, said Miaari….

“In the Arab sector, families are able to bring out the votes by offering benefits and by tapping into group loyalty and tradition, he said.”
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albanian gangs. eeek!:

“The Albanian mafia under investigation”

“According to the National Anti-Mafia Directorate – an organ of the Italian State’s General Attorney for the fight against organized crime, the Albanian mafia has gained a leading role in Italy’s drug market….

“Albanian crime organisations, usually small to medium size, are based on blood ties and family relationships. ‘Albanian crime is a maze made of many, small groups’, explains Enzo Ciconte, university professor and historian, author of Mafie straniere in Italia. Storia ed evoluzione (Foreign Mafia in Italy. History and Evolution, Rubbettino, 2003). The criminal network is made of ‘people of the village’, people related to each other. This discourages drop-out. As happens with Calabrian clans, fighting silence is not easy. Law enforcement and judges have a tough challenge to deal with.

“Missing pieces

“Some pieces are, however, missing in the photograph of Albanian crime in Italy. First of all, nobody seems to have an idea of the business turnover. Second, who are the clans? Where are they rooted? Which national crime organisation are they emanation of? According to the DCSA, here there is a serious identification issue, since Albanian law allows to change identity with a simple procedure at the local municipal office in one’s place of residence, which suggests that adopting a new name and surname might be common practice among traffickers.

“However, the lack of information about clans and their turnover may also hint that the police struggles even more than usual in hunting down Albanian criminal groups….”
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somali pirates? funded by clan chiefs. h/t mark weiner!:

“Captain Phillips: the forgotten hostages”

“A former Royal Signals officer, he [colonel john steed] first dealt with piracy cases while serving as defence attaché to the British Embassy between 2007 and 2009, during which the British sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler were taken hostage. Recently he worked on counter-piracy issues for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, but when that office was restructured earlier this year, he set up a new mission, the Secretariat for Regional Maritime Security, to try to resolve the most intractable hostage cases.

“It is not as grand as the title sounds. While the UN has agreed to fund one of his staff, he runs it out of his house in a Nairobi suburb, and does not get paid himself. ‘I am doing it out of the kindness of my heart,’ he says.

“So how does he persuade the pirates to hand over their hostages without a ransom? ‘With great difficulty,’ comes the answer. Most pirate gangs, he points out, are themselves in debt to clan chiefs who have funded their missions, and are reluctant to accept that they have picked one of the few boats whose owners cannot pay a ransom. In previous cases, though, they have been persuaded to accept a cut-and-run payment for their ‘expenses’, which can sometimes be arranged via a whip-round in the shipping industry….”
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previously: clans in the news: syria

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pretty much only medieval europe today…

from East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500 [pgs. 87-89, 91]:

In some parts of medieval East Central Europe animal herding was the primary means of livelihood. In Albania the inhabitants of the coastal districts evidently lost their connection with agriculture in the 6th and 7th centuries in the wake of the Slavic invasions. Adopting a pastoral life-style, they survived by tending sheep in the mountains, migrating twice annually between winter and summer pastures. These mountaineers regularly raided the plains settlements, supplementing their incomes with plunder. The Magyars had been herders on the Ukrainian steppes prior to invading Central Europe; and even in Hungary, stock raising was their principal means of support. They avoided the thick beeach and pine forests which could not be used as pasture, leaving these to Slavic, German, or Vlach peasants. Travelers of the 12th century described Hungary as one vast grazing area, interrupted only occasionally by patches of cultivated land. The Magyars spent their winters in villages set alongside riverbanks, often in shelters hollowed out of the earth. In spring they sowed their seed, then moved on to the grasslands where they lived in tents. At harvest time they returned to their villages. Their winter habitats were usually near a fortress, while summer residences were located in the vicinity of pastures.

Similarly the early Serbs lived primarily from stock raising, an occupation well suited to their hilly country. (The region known as Serbia in the 12th century faced the Adriatic and included the rough terrain of Hercegovina and Montenegro.) The chronicler William of Tyre, passing through Serbia in 1168 on his way to the Holy Land, described the local people as warlike mountaineers, rich in milk, cheese, butter, meat, honey, and wax. The Serbs that he observed lived entirely from the products of their herds, although we now know that they also practiced a moderate agriculture in the valleys. Hog raising was a primary activity in medieval Serbia just as in modern times, thanks to an abundant supply of acorns for pigs to feed upon in the thick oak forests. Hunting was also important: bears, wolves, stags, boars, rabbits, martens, and foxes were abundant. Fishing was carried on everywhere in the lakes and streams….

Stock raising continued to be widely practiced in East Central Europe long after agriculture had become the dominant economic activity. Many animal herders were Vlachs (ancestors of the modern Romanians), who spoke a language derived from Latin. Subsisting on the products of their flocks, they lived in the mountainous regions of southern Poland, Transylvania, and the Balkan Peninsula….

“Whether a free agricultrual population — consisting neither of serfs bound to the land nor of slaves who were owned outright — existed in the early medieval period is a question not easily answered. Conditions varied widely from country to country, and even within a single regions. Nevertheless, it is clear that when the great Slavic migrations came to an end in the 6th-7th centuries and the tribesmen settled down to agriculture, serfdom was unknown. Settled areas were held in common by the clans or tribes….

Hungary in the 11th and 12th centuries was still largely a pastoral country, where members of the tribes remained free people subject only to their sovereign. The class of true peasants, as opposed to herders engaging in occasional agriculture, was for a long time relatively small. The spread of serfdom was hindered at first by the fact that so much of the land still belonged to communities of herdsmen….. [A]s agriculture gradually replaced herding, the property of the clans was broken up into private estates which were held mainly by nobles and churchmen. Gradually the free Magyar clansmen were transformed into serfs.”

who knew? previously: the flatlanders vs. the mountain people and more on albanians.
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how to put a stop to a feud the early medieval way (the following event happened in the 500s a.d.) — from Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Early Medieval Europe [pg. 33]:

“[K]inship ties were immensely important to the status and rank of this nobility. This may be seen, for instance, from Gregory of Tours’ report of a bitter feud between two Frankish kin-groups. In this case offence had been given when a man from one kin-group was accused of associating with prostitutes and being unfaithful to his wife, who belonged to the other kin-group. This provoked the woman’s brother to attack his brother-in-law, leading to a series of fights in which both men, and most of their supporters, were killed. The fathers of the two dead men then took up the feud. The Merovingian queen, Fredegund, brought an end to the fighting: she invited the leaders of both warring factions to a meal and, when these men and their *pueri* had become drunk, she had them all killed. There can be little doubt that the two kin-groups involved were extremely powerful because the remaining *parentes* were still strong enough to force the queen to flee.”

so, the merovingian franks were still clannish and feuding. previously: early medieval bavarians and feuds & honor killings.

here, btw, is fredegund … attempting to kill her daughter! (no idea if she was successful or not):

fredegund
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finally, khan krum — krum the horrible — of bulgaria after his defeat of the byzantine emperor nikephoros i being served some wine by a (very nervous looking) servant. the wine has been poured into a skull cup made from nikephoros’ cranium!:

krum the horrible

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man, clannish peoples have looooong memories.

i was searching last night for some good turkish music on youtube — you know, as one does — and i came across…

…well, first of all — who knew there was so much ottoman classical music to choose from on youtube?! that was my first surprise. then i came across…

… (heh) THIS raging “debate” between what appears to be some turks, greeks, albanians, croatians, and i don’t know who else (trolls, prolly). here’s just a taste of the discussion — and these are some of the most reasonable, rational bits of it (sorry ’bout the language – click on image for LARGER view):

never got transylvania

old grudges die hard.

oh. i did find some good near eastern music in the end, but it wound up to be some syrian stuff rather than turkish. nice music!

previously: tribalism on the innerwebs

(note: comments do not require an email. never got transylvania.)

i thought before that i noticed a difference in average iqs between northern and southern spain: españa al norte frente al sur and northern vs. southern spanish iq, redux. apparently i’m not completely crazy:

“North-South Differences in Spain in IQ, Educational Attainment, per capita Income, Literacy, Life Expectancy and Employment”
– Richard Lynn

“IQs are presented for fifteen regions of Spain showing a north-south gradient with IQs highest in the north and lowest in the south. The regional differences in IQ are significantly correlated with educational attainment, per capita income, literacy, employment and life expectancy, and are associated with the percentages of Near Eastern and North African genes in the population.”
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some naturalists/environmentalists are starting to note (like they used to) that there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on the planet:

“David Attenborough – Humans are plague on Earth”

“Sir David, who is a patron of the Population Matters, has spoken out before about the ‘frightening explosion in human numbers’ and the need for investment in sex education and other voluntary means of limiting population in developing countries.

‘We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and it’s not an inhuman thing to say. It’s the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.'”

and from down under:

“Hillary Clinton tries to silence Bindi Irwin on population growth”

“The mother-of-two [bindi's mom, mrs. irwin] said population growth was an unpopular topic.

‘It’s astounding that in just over 100 years we’ve gone from 1.5 billion people on the planet to 7 billion so you think “what do we do in the next 100 years?” We’re going to be warring over water and space and food,’ she said.

“‘I just think it’s fascinating that when Bindi does an interview and talks about population, more than 50 per cent of the time it’s edited out.

“‘It’s something we do need to talk about or the ship’s going to sink man.’

“Mrs Irwin said she had visited communities in Australia which were in desperate need of family planning support.

“‘Certainly when Bindi, Robert and I were in South Africa four years ago filming a movie we saw a lot of that in Africa as well. It’s a global problem but we recognise it in Africa and we forget it’s something that’s in our own back yard,’ she said.

“‘Everyone talks about recycle and manage your resources but how do you do that when we’ve got so many people?

‘It’s not terribly popular but I’m not trying to insult anyone’s ability to decide how many kids they want … but I continue to meet children in foster care and people living on the poverty line who did not chose to have so many children and for who options weren’t made readily available.’

good for them!
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a story in the daily mail about blood feuds in albania:

“Three brothers aged 12, nine and seven have NEVER been outside their home because they are caught in a bitter family blood feud”

“The brothers are among an estimated 900 children who must hide indoors to avoid being slaughtered under the ancient Balkan code of practise known as Kanun – which gives a person the right to kill a rival or a rival’s relatives in retribution for an earlier killing.

Killings under the Kanun are known as Gjakmarrja or blood-taking, and are similar to the Italian tradition of vendetta.

“The practise is said to date back to medieval times although some historians say they can trace its origins to the Bronze age.

“It applies to both Christian and Muslim Albanians and regulates all aspects of life including crime, family, marriage, transfer of property, damages as well as personal and social conduct.

“It was virtually stamped out under Communism but has since returned as Albania struggles to emerge as a modern and prosperous democracy, with many claiming to hold no faith in the current legal system.

“Although the blood feud killings are known to date back to the Middle Ages, many of the ‘rules’ have not been adapted to modern times, often they can continue until every male member of the families are dead….”

see also: the maniots

(note: comments do not require an email. albanian man, nineteenth century.)

Feeling Threatened Makes Us Nicer“Perceived menace makes people kinder to their kin but nastier to outsiders. Whether they use this strategy depends on family size.” – hmmm. maybe. part of the study was done on WEIRD students, so … hmmm.

Implicit Race Bias Increases the Differences in the Neural Represen-tations of Black and White Faces“[T]he ways in which Black and White faces are represented in this brain region [fusiform face area] differ for people with a stronger, implicit race bias compared to people with less or no bias. This implies that people with stronger, negative implicit race attitudes may actually perceive Black and White faces to look more different.” – or maybe people who perceive black/white faces to look more different have stronger, negative race attitudes? – original research article here.

Gene flow between Indian populations and Australasia ~4,000 years ago – from dienekes. see also A Three-Hour Tour from greg cochran. (i loved that show! (^_^) )

Genealogy Databases Enable Naming of Anonymous DNA Donors – oops. see also: Matching names to genes: the end of genetic privacy?

HBD: An Abbreviated History of Quisqueya and the Rise of Today’s Dominicans (and Haitians) – from nelson!

The Human Varieties Global IQ Dataset“I’m going to try and use Human Varieties to tabulate a more thorough, immediate, and accurate dataset of international intelligence studies. A dataset that is participatory, updated frequently, and available for download.” – jason malloy’s excellent goal to (single-handedly!) make global iq data open source. yay! (^_^)

Study Discovers DNA That Tells Mice How to Construct Their Homes“The research could eventually lead to a better understanding of what kind of internal reward system motivates mice to dig, or tells them to stop. And although humans do not dig burrows, that, said the leader of the three-person research team, Hopi E. Hoekstra of Harvard, could ‘tell us something about behavioral variation in humans.'”

‘Adventurous’ Woman Needed as Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby – holy cr*p! – via charles!

The Danger of Making Science Political“Many more scientists identify as Democrats than as Republicans…. [B]y some polls only 6 percent of scientists are Republican, and in the recent U.S. Presidential election, 68 science Nobel Prize winners endorsed the Democratic nominee Barack Obama over the Republican candidate Mitt Romney.”

People with low risk for cocaine dependence have differently shaped brain to those with addiction“New research from the University of Cambridge has found that recreational drug users who have not developed a dependence have an abnormally large frontal lobe, the section of the brain implicated in self-control.”

Many researchers taking a different view of pedophilia“Pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a deep-rooted predisposition that does not change.”

Scientific evidence that you probably don’t have free will

Like Lance Armstrong, we are all liars, experts say“During a 10-minute conversation between two strangers, 60% lied at least once, Feldman reported in a 2002 study in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology…. Though men were more likely to lie to make themselves feel good, women more often lied to make their conversation partner feel good. Either way, Feldman said, the urge to make oneself likable and competent was a powerful motivator.”

Got milk? Then you might get a Nobel Prize, study suggests“[C]ountries in which people drink the most milk, per capita, also win the most Nobel Prizes, per capita….” – (~_^)

The Truth behind the HBD cult prt 1 – << only good for a laugh. no, really! – via jayman!

bonus: Portraits of ‘sworn virgins’ of Albania fascinate“Northern Albanian women … live and dress as men in order to provide for their families.”

bonus bonus: Great Oxidation Event: More oxygen through multicellularity

bonus bonus bonus: There Are Whales Alive Today Who Were Born Before Moby Dick Was Written – cool!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Chinese migration to Angola tops 250,000

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about the semai, i forgot to mention that, apart from conflict, they also don’t like competition in activities like sports — from wikipedia (see also Cooperation and competition in peaceful societies):

“The games Semai children play are non-competitive…. A game of badminton for example uses no partition nets and keeps no score. The shuttlecock is deliberately hit so that it could be easily intercepted by the other player and passed back, and so forth.”
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more on the clannish albanians:

“An Insider’s View of EU Efforts in Kosovo”
“‘We Have Achieved Almost Nothing’

“Since 2008, the EU has had thousands of soldiers, judges and prosecutors in Kosovo to help it become a Western-style constitutional democracy. But a German police officer with years of experience there says it is still dominated by corruption, clan loyalties and drugs — with officials just waiting for the high-minded reformers to leave….

“[A] recent report by the European Court of Auditors finds that there have been hardly any successes. It concludes that levels of organized crime and corruption remain high, while the judiciary is inefficient and suffers from too much political influence. A German police officer familiar with conditions in Kosovo for many years confirms the report’s findings based on his own experiences in the country….

“It’s my impression that corruption is quite high among Kosovar police officers. I was told that, if you’re caught with a stolen car, all you have to do is pay the officer a bribe to take care of the problem.

The major criminals are already out of reach, protected by traditional clan structures and the old-boys’ networks within the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), from which many police officers were recruited….

Kosovo is a country in which centuries-old traditions live on, and blood feuds are part of the culture. We Central Europeans have not been able to convince the Kosovars of the benefits of adopting a new legal and value system like the one we have in the West. That’s because they see that the old structures remain powerful while government institutions are weak. I fear that the Kosovars will ride us out, just as the Taliban are waiting for Western troops to withdraw from Afghanistan….”
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the danes consider decriminalizing incest. danish geneticist points out that inbreeding can be a good or a bad thing:

“Aarhus siblings’ love child sets off incest debate”

“The recent case of a brother and sister in the city of Aarhus who said that they are in love and have a five-month-old child together has raised a national debate about sibling sex. The couple, who share the same father but have different mothers, face jail time for violating Denmark’s current statute prohibiting incest and inbreeding….

“The possibility of passing on genetic defects and damaging the social order have been the main reasons cited for making it illegal for siblings to have sex and produce offspring. But Niels Tommerup, a professor of genetics at the University of Copenhagen, said that mutations resulting from inbreeding can be both positive and negative.

“‘Our focus is always on the negative consequences like diseases and malformations,’ he told Information newspaper. ‘But positive mutations help develop the species.’

Tommerup said that mutations like those that occur due to inbreeding can be ‘biologically positive’.

“‘It is hard to imagine that there would be the formation of new species without some form of inbreeding,’ he said.

“Tommerup would not go as far as changing the law prohibiting sex between brother and sister, however. He recommended that family sex get no closer than cousins.

“He said that the famous Danish blue eyes are a mutation that could only have occurred via inbreeding sometime in history.

‘If inbreeding is banned, the possibility of promoting new, positive variants could be lost,’ he said.

“Vagn Greve, a law professor at Copenhagen Business School, would like to see even more taboos removed. Greve said there is ‘no logical reason’ that sex between parents and their children should be against the law.

“‘In my view, we should decriminalise sex between father and daughter as long as they are both adult and the relationship is voluntary,’ Greve told metroXpress newspaper. ‘There is no reason to treat the biological family different from the social family, but the age limit should be 18 or 20-years-old.’

Greve said that sex among immediate family members has been legal in countries like Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and France for 200 years, and that there is no evidence that it has damaged either families or society….

hmmmm….
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anonymous has been under the false impression that i think that all balkan peoples are exactly the same. of course, nothing could be further from the truth (i’m hbd chick, after all! — emphasis on the “D” in this instance), which i’ve explained to him (her?) here. also, to date i’ve written a couple of posts on the greeks (here and here) and one on albanians. if i thought all balkan populations were the same, i wouldn’t have bothered to do that, would i?

anyway — what i do think is that there are, indeed, some underlying behavioral tendencies which all of the balkan populations share — tendencies towards clannishness and, in some cases, even a more extreme tribalism. after all, it’s not a coincidence that the word we use for balkanization is BALKANization. but there is variation in the balkan populations: from the apparently very clannish mountain dwelling albanians to the less-so-but-still-rather clannish greeks. the serbs fall in here somewhere as well, a good portion of them closer to the greeks in behavior, but some of them more like the mountain albanians, which i’ll get to below.

first of all, what am i talking about here when i refer to clannish behaviors? what i mean is that some human populations here on planet earth (a majority, in fact, i think) are so family-oriented — extended family-oriented, often to the point of actually living in clan or tribal groups — that they fail, to some degree or another, at contributing voluntarily to a successful commonweal (to use m.g.’s phrasing!). clannish groups, to some degree or another, don’t manage liberal democracy, the avoidance of corruption, to have very civic societies, or to peacefully coexist with neighboring clans/tribes. i don’t think that other behaviors — like creating great art or science or building a large civilization — are, necessarily, hindered by clannishness. the chinese/han chinese, for instance, appear to have been marrying cousins/been clannish for a couple thousand years and it didn’t get (too much) in their way.

i also happen to think (theorize) that you get (different degrees of) clannishness by long-term inbreeding (regularly marrying first or second cousins) and/or long-term endogamous mating (regularly marrying something like third to fifth cousins); but even if that is not correct (which is, of course, entirely possible!), it is still very clear that clannish societies don’t do well in the areas mentioned above (not that liberal democracy, a lack of corruption, civicness or peaceful coexistence are necessary in life — just that, if, for whatever reasons, achieving one or more of those is your goal in life, being clannish ain’t gonna get you there!).

if westermeyer is right that mountainous populations inbreed more than lowland populations — and there are good indications that he is — then we shouldn’t be surprised that balkan populations have a history of close mating patterns…

…which is what i have found so far: at least some greeks have (or had up until recently) a preference for third cousin marriage; bosnian muslims have a preference for marrying in-laws (i.e. maternal relatives); and both macedonians and albanians seem to be ok with marriage to maternal relatives, too.

and, as we’ve seen before, the genetics back up this idea that balkan populations have been inbreeding/endogamously mating much more than other populations in europe — here’s a nice map of the within-country identical by descent rates for various european populations — the larger the circle, the more genes that are identical by descent in that population (albanians ftw!):


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so what about the serbs?

well, most (all?) serbs, of course, are christians, and have been since sometime around the seventh-ninth centuries — so right there we can safely guess that they’ve been at the receiving end of some sort of cousin marriage ban/s down through the centuries since that point. the conversion of serbs to christianity happened later than populations further west in europe, so they probably haven’t been subjected to the cousin bans for as long as, say, the english or the french.

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, i wrote an introductory post on mating patterns in medieval eastern europe. here’s what i had found out about the serbs:

levin also points out that the serbs seemed to, overall, have more regulations about cousin marriage than either the russians or bulgarians. the serbian church had heavy penances for even second cousin marriage, so perhaps the serbs have been outbreeding for longer than the russians.”

why the serbs were more focused on eliminating cousin marriage than the russians or bulgarians, i don’t know. but it’s interesting. the other question, of course, is how well were these regulations enforced? at this point i don’t know — and it may be difficult to find out — but going forward i will be keeping an eye out for any info on that. i think, though, that it’s safe to guess that, at least compared to most other balkan/eastern european populations, with the likely exception of the greeks, the serbs might have a relatively long history (800-1000 years?) of some amount of outbreeding (at least avoidance of first and second cousin marriage).

so how do the serbs fare when it comes to liberal democracy, corruption, civicness and inter-clan fighting? well, the serbs aren’t included in the woodley & bell paper on consanguinity and democracy, so i’ll have to skip that one.

corruption? not so good. serbia ranks #86 on transparency international’s corruption perceptions index. that’s far below the u.k. @16 or the u.s. @24. better than albania, though, which came in @95. but worse than greece @80.

civicness? not so good either. at or below the eastern european average on all the civicness questions — mostly below — and the east european averages are well below the averages for the anglo world. better than russia or bulgaria for many of the questions, though. (interestingly, stronger in church/religious org. and sports than labor unions.):

and how about inter-clan fighting or blood feuds (which are so popular in albania and were even in parts of greece)? well, it’s complicated.

some serbs — those in montenegro — along with the montenegrins and albanians there — did seem to practice krvna osveta or vendetta from the medieval period into the nineteenth century, but not (so much?) the serbs in serbia. the serb population in montenegro was comprised of clans and they fought with other clans, both fellow serbs and clans from other ethnic groups.

why the difference between serbs in serbia and serbs in montenegro? well, perhaps the serbs in montenegro simply felt more annoyed at having to live alongside other (hostile) ethnic groups and, so, battles ensued. or…

…”serbia” has moved around quite a bit over the centuries, but it has been more-or-less centered around where serbia is today:

as you can see, large areas of “serbia” — to the north — have often been located on the pannonian plain. those serbs who were a part of the kingdom of hungary definitely were flatlanders. perhaps this is why the serbians, historically, have been inclined towards outbreeding — a lot of them have been living in the lowlands. and, perhaps, the stringent regulations against cousin marriage issued by the medieval serbian orthodox church were directed mostly to the mountain dwelling serbs. dunno. but, certainly, that montenegro seems to be almost entirely covered in mountains (MONTEnegro), once again might fit the pattern of uplanders inbreeding and lowlanders not-so-much (montenegro serbians being more clannish, thus prolly inbreeding? serbian serbians not so clannish, thus prolly outbreeding more?).

serbians in serbia might not engage in vendetta today — or even in their recent past — but they do have some tendencies in that direction, like the royal blood feud between the houses of karađorđević and obrenović. the karađorđević-obrenović feud was something like what the plantagenets would’ve gotten up to, only in the nineteenth century rather than the fifteenth.

also, from that font of all knowledge, wikipedia:

“Another related feature, often lamented by Serbs themselves, is disunity and discord; as Slobodan Naumović puts it, ‘Disunity and discord have acquired in the Serbian popular imaginary a notorious, quasi-demiurgic status. They are often perceived as being the chief malefactors in Serbian history, causing political or military defeats, and threatening to tear Serbian society completely apart.’ That disunity is often quoted as the source of Serbian historic tragedies, from the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 to Yugoslav wars in 1990s. Even the contemporary notion of ‘two Serbias’ — one supposedly national, liberal and Eurocentric, and the other conservative, nationalist and Euroskeptic — seems to be the extension of the said discord. Popular proverbs ‘two Serbs, three political parties’ and ‘God save us from Serbs that may unite!’, and even the unofficial Serbian motto ‘only unity saves Serbs’ (Samo sloga Srbina spasava) illustrate the national frustration with the inability to unite over important issues.”

yup.

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe and balkan endogamy and more on albanians and ελλάδα and more on greece and this one’s for g.w. and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

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there are two broad groups of albanians, the gheg speakers in the north of the country (the blues on the map) and the tosk speakers in the south (the greens):

Dialects_of_the_Albanian_Language

today, the ghegs are more clannish/tribal than the tosks. there are historical (stemming from topographical) reasons for this (emphases and links added by me):

“The social structure of the country was, until the 1930s, basically tribal in the north and semifeudal in the central and southern regions. The highlanders of the north retained their medieval pattern of life until well into the twentieth century and were considered the last people in Europe to preserve tribal autonomy. In the central and southern regions, increasing contact with the outside world and invasions and occupations by foreign armies had gradually weakened tribal society.

“Traditionally there have been two major subcultures in the Albanian nation: the Gegs in the north and the Tosks in the south. The Gegs, partly Roman Catholic but mostly Muslim, lived until after World War II in a mountain society characterized by blood feuds and fierce clan and tribal loyalties. The Tosks, whose number included many Muslims as well as Orthodox Christians, were less culturally isolated mainly because of centuries of foreign influence. Because they had came under the rule of the Muslim landed aristocracy, the Tosks had apparently largely lost the spirit of individuality and independence that for centuries characterized the Gegs, especially in the highlands.

“Until the end of World War II, society in the north and, to a much lesser extent, in the south, was organized in terms of kinship and descent. The basic unit of society was the extended family, usually composed of a couple, their married sons, the wives and children of the sons, and any unmarried daughters. The extended family formed a single residential and economic entity held together by common ownership of means of production and common interest in the defense of the group. Such families often included scores of persons, and, as late as 1944, some encompassed as many as sixty to seventy persons living in a cluster of huts surrounding the father’s house.

Extended families were grouped into clans whose chiefs preserved patriarchal powers over the entire group. The clan chief arranged marriages, assigned tasks, settled disputes, and set the course to be followed concerning essential matters such as blood feuds and politics. Descent was traced from a common ancestor through the male line, and brides usually were chosen from outside the clan. Clans in turn were grouped into tribes.

“In the Tosk regions of the south, the extended family was also the most important social unit, although patriarchal authority had been diluted by the feudal conditions usually imposed by the Muslim bey….”
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here’s a really (REALLY) long excerpt from Poverty in Albania: A Qualitative Assessment with some notes of my own thrown in here and there. the excerpted bits are italicized while my comments are not. the quote from the book comes from pages 83-90. the book itself was published in 2002 and comprises the results of a series of surveys undertaken across albania by world bank researchers in the late 1990s and early 2000s (again, emphases and links added by me):

“Civil Society

“People in all the study sites generally want a capable government that solves problems and creates opportunities. A combination of factors — inadequate government presence, poor management of government functions, corruption, and lack of confidence that elections will change conditions — has created a vacuum of authority in parts of Albania. In certain rural locations, particularly in the north and east, there is no functioning government. In these areas, institutions such as extended families/clans are filling the gaps of authority…. Further, Albanians’ wariness of other groups in general — other families, ethnic groups, and religious groups — fragments civil society and confines non-governmental solutions to local areas….

“Filling the Vacuum

“Two forces are rising to fill the vacuum of government authority — the traditional fis structure, and the small, ad-hoc aid programs of foreign governments and private organizations in some eastern parts of the country….

“The fis is even more important for filling the power vacuum. An elder in Mirdita describes authority there: ‘I am elected elder of this village. The water resources are distributed according to the old traditions, based on the fis. Here things are settled based on the fis, not the state. My fis is composed of my uncle, first cousins, and also fourth cousins. When there is discord that involves injuries … it is not the state that gets involved to resolve the problem, but the wisest of the elderly men in the fis. We discuss how to resolve the problem and develop a consensus. Then we make the decision and the problem is resolved.’

“Re-emergence of the Fis and Canun

A fis is a group of people descended from the same great grandfather. This extended family is bound together tightly by tradition, culture, and a set of rules called the Canun, which were formalized by Lek Dukagjini in the 1400s. The Canun withered under Communism but has resumed governing importance in some areas. As Remzi, a fis elder in Kukes, explains, ‘The Canun is now starting to function because the government is weak … and the government’s laws are not being properly implemented by the state.’ Fis in some areas are now using the traditional Canun, or a modern variation of it, to govern themselves. As noted in the chapter on agriculture, issues of land reform, land use, irrigation water distribution, and other matters are being determined by the fis structure using the Canun as the basis for decisions….

Fis are found primarily in northern rural Albania (Kukes, Mirdita, and Shkordra), but they also exist in the highlands of Korca and among the Roma populations….

“Fis Governance

In each village, there may be as few as 3 or as many as 10 fis. As noted earlier, a fis is defined as a group of those people who descend directly from a common great grandfather. In practical terms, each fis comprises three to four generations. The number of people in each fis can range from fewer than 10 to more than 500 people. The selection of leaders within a fis varies, but there are some common practices. Each fis is led by a male who is elected by other males in the fis. Often the elected leader is the oldest active male, who is responsible for setting and enforcing standards of behavior. He usually does not make important decisions alone, but in consultation with other respected males in the fis, including brothers and sons, and extending to cousins….

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“Relations Within and Among the Fis

‘When someone in our fis makes a mistake, even if he is 40 years old, the entire fis gets together and orders him not to commit further mistakes and put shame on us all. This is our way to preserve tradition. There are seven or eight fis in the village, and we are in competition with each other to be the best one. When one of us makes a mistake or commits a crime, the entire fis is humiliated and its reputation is hurt…. When I have disputes within the fis, I try to resolve them within the fis. But if I cannot do so, I sometimes will invite and elder from another fis to listen to our problems and provide mature judgement. And if we do not get a satisfying result from this, we address the problem to the committee of elders in the village.’ – Hamit, an elder in Shkodra
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“Where the government is totally absent, the committee of elders governs without a government institution by managing common work and the relationships among the various fis. In these situations, the committee of elders uses some version of the Canun to set rules and govern. According to Preng, and elder in Mirdita, ‘I am the elected leader of the fis…. Here, things are settled by the fis and we do not rely on the government. My fis is composed of my uncle, first cousins, and also fourth cousins. When there is a dispute that results in injury, it is not the government that gets involved but the elders who get together and decide the fee. A committee of elders, the wisest men from all the fis, discusses the problem and resolves it based on consensus. When the fee is paid, then the problem is considered resolved…. If the criminal has no money to pay the fee, then he is killed. The fee depends on the issue and how events happened….

“Applying the Canun

“The application of Canun varies by fis. A few apply the traditional Canun, even though they recognize its shortcomings. They feel that, despite the traditional Canun’s weaknesses, it is the best solution in the absence of government. In one area of Kukes, an elder describes the Canun as ‘unprincipled and not fair as the laws. It is very tough and incites disputes and revenge. For instance, according to the Canun, if someone hits you, then you have the right to kill him…. It has some very precise rules, though in today’s society it is hard to implement the rules…. For instance, the Canun does not allow my daughter to bring bread or coffee in the room when guests visit. Women must wear a scarf on their head. A stranger who is visiting your house must not shake hands with your wife or daughter.’ The Canun has returned to an extent that blood feuds have re-emerged. In some areas, such as Shkodra and northern Kukes, families reportedly are confined to their own homes to protect themselves during a feud. In these cases, friends and neighbors bring them food because the family cannot grow their own food or otherwise work while feuding.

“Despite the use of traditional Canun rules in some areas, most fis have adapted the Canun to better fit, in their view, the values of the modern era….

“Dispute Resolution and Other Functions

“… The need for such dispute resolution increased after 1990, due to new freedoms and disputes over property rights, just as the government’s ability to resolves such disputes began to decline…. According to an elder in Shkodra, ‘After 1990, conflict increased compared to the time of my father. The Communist regime caused many fights because it took land from its owners and distributed it equally to everybody, and encouraged people to construct houses on other people’s land….

albania’s committee of nationwide reconciliation estimates that there were ca. “10,000 murders for honour, blood feud and revenge between 1990 and 2009″ in the country, although it’s difficult to know for sure what the real numbers are. i think it’s safe to say A LOT, though. the albanian tradition of gjakmarrja is basically an eye-for-an-eye moral system in which honor is all-important — the honor of the extended family. albanians (and other groups in the balkans) have for centuries had purpose built boltholes to hide in when they and their families were the objects of a blood feud (check out the border reivers’ bastle houses, too):

i think the long history and current prevalence of blood feuds in albania and throughout the region illustrates that greying wanderer’s characterization of the balkans as “full of people who hate the people in the adjacent enclosed ancient valley” is not far off the mark.
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interestingly:

“Source of Power

The principle source of power for a fis is its moral standing among the other fis. An elder in Shkodra says, ‘Our moral force and authority derive from good behavior.’ This moral standing is built over generations. Fis that historically have been strong are more likely to enjoy power now. An elder in Shkodra says, ‘Blood is never forgotten. Mother and father have one name. Blood has one name. After 20 or 100 years, the blood of mothers and fathers is not forgotten.’

Moral standing is judged according to the behavior of the members of a fis. Living according to the laws set by the fis, working hard, being kind and gracious to both neighbors and strangers, showing generosity to others, and having a family that is free of conflict are some of the criteria by which fis judge each other. An elder in Shkodra explains, ‘A good man, according to the Canun, is one who works, is wise, is loved by everybody, who does not humiliate anyone, and who pulls his family together. A bad man is one who does the opposite. The good fis are polite, have culture, and use common sense. A bad fis is not able to run its own affairs properly, let alone enjoy proper relations with other fis.’ An elder in Kukes, who asserts that his family is the ‘best’ fis in the community, describes similar criteria for judging a fis there: ‘My grandfather was known as the representative of the best fis in the village. Now we have 20 families in the village and maybe someone from our fis has committed some wrongs, but we still enjoy the reputation of our generosity and hospitality. For instance, if I see a stranger passing by on the road, I invite him to visit my home and have coffee with us. I preserve the reputation of the fis. When I visit my neighbor, I make a contribution. When he visits me, he makes a contribution. When someone asks to marry my daughter who does not come from a well-respected fis, I do not permit my daughter to marry that person.’

so, unlike in western europe where a man is judged by his character and behavior alone, amongst albanians (and i’m guessing other balkan populations) one’s moral character is all wrapped up with that of one’s extended family. this is something we hear throughout muslim societies in the arab world and middle east as well (e.g. all the honor killings) — not surprising when they are very inbred, too.
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Marriages among members of the same fis are not permitted, even when the two people are seven or eight generations removed. Because one must marry someone from another fis, all marriages involve fis politics. Marriage is very important to determining the stature of a fis in the community. Much time is spent determining the suitability of various suitors, based on the reputation of the fis and the perceived behavior of the prospective bride and groom. Because the reputation of the fis is important to power relations in the community, a woman has little influence in selecting her husband. According to an elder in Kukes, ‘Couples are engaged not through love, but through a mediator….”

since the ban on marrying relations within the fis only applies to paternal relations, it could very well be that albanians frequently marry maternal relatives — close or distant maternal cousins. i haven’t seen any info on this either way for albanians, but another balkan group — bosnian muslims — actually have a preference for marrying in-laws which includes maternal relatives. some albanians are christians (orthodox and roman catholic), so presumably they more-or-less follow the christian ban on marrying close cousins — as a general rule, that is — although all sorts of europeans regularly work around this. there should be no such cousin-marriage ban amongst albanian muslisms.

in any case, albanians are marrying (especially traditionally) very endogamously since they normally marry someone from a fis in the village or, perhaps, a neighboring village.
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onwards:

“Wariness of Other Groups

“The re-emergence of the fis highlights the importance of family structures in addressing problems formerly handled by government. But the importance of family is not limited to northern districts and Korca. People throughout the country feel that family affiliations is an important factor in choosing their friends and neighbors. Ethnic and religious affiliation also affect relationships within and between communities. As a result, these groups tend to be wary of each other. Table 12 details people’s attitudes toward their neighbors. [click on table for LARGER view]:

About 77 percent of people prefer that their neighbors are members of the same fis or family, with 59 percent strongly preferring it. About 52 percent prefer that their neighbors share the same religion, while about 44 percent prefer that neighbors are of the same ethnicity. It appears that family affiliation is more important than religion or ethnicity in determining feels [sic] about neighbors.

The civil society that either shares space with government or fills a vacuum left by government comprises a series of groups that are wary of each other and sometimes conflict. Consequently, there are few informal institutions, organizations, and networks that cross large geographic areas. Those that do exist, such as the emigration networks into Greece and Italy, are based on single extended families or single local communities. So while informal institutions and organizations are significant assets, they may be limited in their capacity to address problems across different families, religions, and ethnicities.”

like other clannish/tribal societies, albania doesn’t manage to have a civil society. not in the sense that nw europeans have. clannishness and tribalism seem to go along with inbreeding — either consanguineous and/or endogamous mating patterns — and i think the causation goes from inbreeding -> clannishness/tribalism (although certainly being clannish probably encourages further inbreeding). and the underlying mechanism is, as steve sailer pointed out ages ago, somehow related to kin selection and inclusive fitness.

albanians seem to be some of the most inbred peoples in europe — looking at their genomes, they have the highest frequencies of within-country “blocks of ibd” (identity by descent) as compared to other europeans which suggests to me that they’ve been inbreeding for a long time, too. that, i think, is part of the reason for the high ibd rates amongst albanians. given their history, then, it shouldn’t be surprising that they still are very clannish/tribal and don’t manage to build a civil society.
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see also:
Albania: Blood Feuds — ‘Blood For Blood’ (Part 1)
Blood feuds still boiling in Albania – feuding taken to a new level when a 17 year old girl is killed.
Ancient blood feuds cast long shadow over hopes for a modern Albania
Peacemaker breaks the ancient grip of Albania’s blood feuds
No way out
The Forgiveness of Blood – movie.
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previously: balkan endogamy

(note: comments do not require an email. albanians.)

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