Archives for posts with tag: familism

update 10/17: some extra notes in the comments about the gss data here and here. thanks for the thought-filled comments, guys! (^_^)
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bennett and lotus (in America 3.0) have the very right idea that anglo-saxons have been living in absolute nuclear families and behaving very “anglo-saxony” for centuries, but they’ve got, imho, the very wrong idea that if other peoples, non-anglo-saxon peoples, just start living like anglo-saxons in absolute nuclear families, they will — via some sort of cultural osmosis or something — start behaving all anglo-saxony, too. i’m not convinced. where, i would ask, is the evidence for this?

in the comments to one of my previous posts on this subject, i pointed out that, for example, italian american families, most of which have been in the u.s. for multiple generations now, are mostly absolute nuclear families — at least they appear to be on the surface. however, italian americans are really strongly attached to their extended families in ways that anglo-americans simply are not. here’s what i said (or, rather, what i quoted):

from “Community and Identity in Italian American Life” in The Review of Italian American Studies (2000) [pgs. 250-251]:

“Family gatherings…are still part of Italian American life….

“Italian Americans, even the more affluent, remain in inner-city enclaves more than other groups do. When Italian Americans do move, many times two or more generations are involved in the exodus to a new suburban residence. If they do not locate together, Italian American family members find residences within short distances of one another. When upwardly mobile children leave their inner-city parents for the suburbs, they visit them more than any other group. When leaving the extended family, Italian Americans most often move into some modified extended family arrangement characterized by continual economic and social exchanges. Similarly, Italian American middle- and working-class children are more likely to take geographical proximity to the family into account when considering college attendance. Contemporary Italian American youth spread their wings, but not too far.

“Although crude survey data indicate that Italian Americans are increasingly intermarrying, these measures miss the reality that many times it is the non-Italian marriage partner who is drawn into the powerful magnet of the Italian American family. In addition, intermarriage need no diminish the ethnicity of the Italian American partner nor does it mean necessarily that the offspring will not be reared in the Italian American way. Italian Americans are more entrepreneurial than most; family businesses, by definition, provide not only income and independence from outsiders but also keep the family together. Socially mobile Itlaian Americans are willing to sacrifice some career and employment opportunities in order to stay within the orbit of family life.”

and from The Italian American Experience (2000) [pgs. 210-211, 373-374]:

“For a long time, it was believed that this sequence was inevitably moving toward the complete absorption of Italian Americans….

“While intermarriage rates have remained lower than for other groups, exogamy among Italian Americans has greatly increased. Divorce rates, even for the most recent generation, remain very low compared to all other ethnic groups. Italian Americans still maintain a pattern of relatively frequent family contacts, with some studies actually indicating an increase in visiting among relatives for later generations. The strength of family ties has been identified as a deterrent to residential mobility and as a factor in the maintenance of Italian American neighborhoods….

“For Italians, family is an all-consuming ideal as is expressed by Luigi Barzini, among many others. For Italian Americans, ‘families’ usually include grandparents, whose influence on family life can be great….

“*L’ordine della familia*, which connotes precise boundaries, role expectations, and clear values for right and wrong behavior, is taught at a very early age and includes:

“- Always respecting parents and grandparents;
– Placing family needs first, staying physically and psychologically close to other members;
– Not talking about the family to outsiders;
– Sometimes maintaining secrets between family members to maintain personal boundaries; other family members do not need to know everythings, particularly if it will cause harm;
– Showing respect for authority outside of the family, but not trusting it;
– and Working hard, but also enjoying life; livining well is sharing food, music, and companionship with those one loves.”

yeah. just like in every sopranos episode that you ever saw. (~_^) why, then, don’t italian americans behave just like anglo americans? they’ve been in the u.s. a pretty long time now … and they live in absolute nuclear families. ‘sup?
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so i thought i’d check the gss (General Social Survey) to see how anglo-saxony italian americans are. unfortunately, the gss numbers for italian americans with all four grandparents born in the u.s. (in other words, being at least third generation or more, which ought to make one really american, right?) are really tiny. dr*t.

so, i decided to look at german and irish americans instead in comparison to english/welsh americans — to see how anglo-saxony those two groups have become (quick answer for those tl:dr folks out there [SPOILER ALERT!]: not very).

before we start, though, t. greer recently pointed out the ever-present problem in these self-reported sort-of surveys and that is that we’re relying on how the respondents “identify” ethnically. how “german” are any of the “german americans” in the gss? who knows? however, the same problem should apply, i would think, across the board here with the self-identified english/welsh, german, and irish americans (i purposefully have NOT used the “just american” category since i want to get at how anglo americans behave), so it should all even out (i hope).

i’ve picked out questions that related to: “civicness” (see previous posts here and here for more on what that is), because the english are VERY civic-minded; “familism” (see here and here), because the english are NOT very familistic; and a couple of ones related to ideas about government and the u.s. that i thought sounded pretty anglo-saxony and that i just found interesting. let’s start with those.

for all of these questions, i’ve shown the results for respondents with all four grandparents born in the u.s. AND for all respondents — just because i can (and i thought it might be interesting to compare). for ethnicity i selected the “COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN [ETHNIC]” parameter. [click on charts for LARGER view.]

should we “Allow public meeting protesting the government” [PROTEST 1]?:

gss - anglo saxons - allow public meetings protesting government 02

england/wales: n=455 for all/n=244 for 4 grandparents
germany: n=604/n=248
ireland: n=412/n=151

should we “Allow publications protesting the government” [PROTEST 2]?:

gss - anglo saxons - allow publications protesting government 02

same n’s as above.

“How close do you feel to America” [CLSEUSA]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how close do you feel to america

england/wales: n=262/n=205
germany: n=367/n=242
ireland: n=245/n=170

wtf german americans?!

so on those three questions there’s anywhere from a four to a fourteen point spread between the responses of german and irish americans versus anglo americans, with anglo americans consistently being more pro allowing protests against the government of different sorts and more pro american. i agree, four points is not much of a difference, but fourteen is — and, as you’ll see below, this is a consistent pattern, i.e. that third+ generation anglo americans are more anglo-saxony than either third+ generation german americans or irish americans.
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the familism questions (again, see previous posts on familism here and here). for all of these:

england/wales: n=96/n=72
germany: n=150/n=100
ireland: n=106/n=70

“How often does R[espondent] contact uncles or aunts [UNCAUNTS]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact uncles aunts

“How often does R contact nieces or nephews [NIECENEP]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact nieces nephews

“How often does R contact cousin [COUSINS]?”:

gss - anglo saxons - how often contact cousins

the differences in the familism scores, then, are not that great. still, with the exception of “how often contact nieces/nephews”, both the german and irish american scores reflect greater familism on their part than on the anglo americans. slightly greater, but greater nevertheless.
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finally, the civicness questions (again, see previous posts on civicness here and here). for all of these:

england/wales: n=96, n=72
germany: n=150, n=100
ireland: n=106, n=70

“Participated in a charitable organization in past 12 months [GRPCHRTY]“:

gss - anglo saxons - charitable organization

“Participated in activity of a political party [GRPPOL]“:

gss - anglo saxons - political party

“Participated in activity of a political party [GRPUNION]“:

gss - anglo saxons - trade union

“Participated in activity of church in past 12 months [GRPCHURH]“:

gss - anglo saxons - church

“Participated in sports group in past 12 months [GRPSPORT]“:

gss - anglo saxons - sports group

so, again, with the exception of participation in a sports group, the anglo americans score higher than the other two groups on all of the questions. the differences range from just two points to eighteen. in the case of sports, german americans scored just a tad (one point) higher in participation than anglo americans and irish americans four points, but anglo americans are out in front on the other four civic behaviors.

you might be thinking that the not-all-that-great differences in civicness scores between these three groups illustrates that german and irish americans are, in fact, becoming more like anglo americans. (why it should be taking so long is curious though — these are THIRD+ generation groups after all.) however, if we look at the very same questions from the world values survey (2005-2008 wave), we find the SAME pattern!: great britain ahead of germany on all the civicness metrics. (unfortunately, ireland was not included in this wvs wave.) (see also previous post.)

great britain: n=1012-1035
germany: n=2039-2050

note that non-whites are included in these figures. ethnicity was, apparently, not asked in germany, because … well, you know … everybody’s the same, so i didn’t parse out non-whites from the results for britain, either. doesn’t seem to make much difference to the scores — one point here and there — since there are not that many non-whites included in the british survey.

gss - anglo saxons - wvs civicness metrics

as you can see, same patterns again: great britain ahead of germany on all of these civicness measurements. and the differences between the two populations — the (mostly) anglos in britain and the (mostly) germans in germany — are very similar to the differences between the two populations in the u.s. — AFTER THREE+ GENERATIONS of being in the u.s.!:

- charitable organization: u.s.=11%, euro=21%
– political party: u.s.=6%, euro=6%
– trade union: u.s.=5%, euro=8%
– church: u.s.=3%, euro=1%
– sports group: u.s.=1% (higher in germany), euro=5%

i strongly suspect that german americans are not becoming like anglo americans, or if they are, it’s NOT happening very quickly. german americans:anglo americans::germans:anglos. nor do i see any reason to think that other groups like the irish or the italians are becoming anglo-saxons either.
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the evidence i’ve presented is not conclusive. obviously. (it’s just a blog post!) Further Research is RequiredTM.

anglo-saxons — or the english of today — have been living in absolute nuclear families for a very long time, but this is more of a symptom of anglo-saxonness than its cause (although there undoubtedly has been feedback between the family type and societal structures). it took the anglo-saxons a looong time to get from being a kindred-based germanic “tribe” to the anglo-saxony individualistic-collectivistic english society that we know today (and have known since about the 1200s-1400s). it’s going to take other societies a similarly looong time to get to the same place — if they will even ever get to exactly the same place — since we are talking about biological processes here including the selection for certain behavioral traits. simply plunking germans — let alone italians (especially southern italians!) — down in absolute nuclear families will NOT turn them into anglos overnight. apparently it won’t even turn them into anglos in three+ generations.

no. anglo-saxons are exceptional. innately so. we should try not to destroy that, since it benefits so many of us.

previously: the anglo-saxons and america 3.0 and the saxons, the anglo-saxons, and america 3.0 and civic societies and civic societies ii and hispanic family values and familism in the u.s. of a.

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’bout time, right? right.

the first thing — one of the most important things — to remember is that clannishness does NOT just apply to peoples who live in clans (or, like the arabs, lineage-based tribes). a population that is clannish, or exhibits traits of clannishness, does NOT have to be one arranged along clans/tribes. all — or maybe most (dunno) — societies that are arranged along clan/tribal lines are normally clannish — at least i think so — i can’t think of any that are not. but clannishness extends beyond that — some societies are clannish even though their members don’t spend their everyday lives surrounded by their fellow clan members.

so what is clannishness then? clannishness is (and i reserve the right to alter this definition) a set of behaviors and innate behavioral traits and predispositions which, when found in a population, result in the members of that population strongly favoring, in all areas of life, themselves, their family members — both near and extended, and even closely allied associates (esp. in clannish societies which are not arranged into clans), while at the same time strongly disfavoring those considered to be non-family and all unrelated, non-allied associates. (i know — it’s messy — it needs work. i agree. feel free to leave suggestions in the comments! thnx.)

the most important thing to remember here is: take the clannish individuals out of their native clannish environment — for instance, away from their extended families or clans — and they will still, on average, behave in clannish ways. why? because (i think) that what we’re looking at are innate traits — innate traits that are found to different degrees, on average, in different populations. and why should that be? evolution by natural selection, that’s why. to quote myself:

think of it like a two-stage rocket:

- FIRST you have either inbreeding or outbreeding (or any range in between those), and these mating patterns either focus or disperse “genes for altruism” … within extended family groups, which….

- THEN sets the stage for creating different selection pressures in that different social environments are created (egs. nuclear families, extended families, clans, larger tribes). it’s HERE in this second stage where the behaviors — either clannish or not (or any range in between those!) — are selected for (or can be selected for).

“either clannish or not (or any range in between those!).” in other words, clannishness should be viewed as a spectrum. to quote myself again:

clannishness should be viewed as a spectrum.

the pattern seems to be that, the longer and greater the inbreeding, the more clannish — and the opposite — the longer and greater the outbreeding, the less clannish.

if we take 1 as the least clannish and 10 as the most clannish, i would rate various groups as follows (these are today’s judgements — i reserve the right to alter these as i go forward and learn more about all of these populations!):

1 – the english (not all of them — probably not the cornish, for instance), some of the dutch
2 – the scandinavians
3 or 4 – the irish
6-7 – the italians, the greeks, the chinese
7-8 – the albanians
10 – the yanomamo
11 – the arabs

(see also jayman’s A Tentative Ranking of the Clannishness of the “Founding Fathers”)

since we’re talking (i think) about evolution and the selection for behaviors here, it should be obvious that populations can go from being more or less clannish — and also that populations can, and do, head down slightly different evolutionary pathways depending on their own, unique circumstances, and so probably all will be clannish (or non-clannish) in their own ways. there will be broad similarities, of course — but maybe mostly the patterns will be generally the same, just not very specifically.
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so what are these clannish behaviors/traits?

well, i’m not the only one who’s interested in clannishness and the effects that has on the functioning (or not) of societies. here is mark weiner on “clannism” [kindle locations 128-138]:

“[B]y the rule of the clan I mean the political arrangements of societies governed by what the ‘Arab Human Development Report 2004′ calls ‘clannism.’ These societies possess the outward trappings of a modern state but are founded on informal patronage networks, especially those of kinship, and traditional ideals of patriarchal family authority. In nations pervaded by clannism, government is coopted for purely factional purposes and the state, conceived on the model of the patriarchal family, treats citizens not as autonomous actors but rather as troublesome dependents to be managed.

“Clannism is the historical echo of tribalism, existing even in the face of economic modernization. It often characterizes rentier societies struggling under the continuing legacy of colonial subordination, as in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, where the nuclear family, with its revolutionary, individuating power, has yet to replace the extended lineage group as the principle framework for kinship or household organization. A form of clannism likewise pervades mainland China and other nations whose political development was influenced by Confucianism, with its ideal of a powerful state resting on a well-ordered family, and where personal connections are essential to economic exchange.”

that’s a good start, but here’s a more general list of non-clannish–clannish traits/behaviors (again, these should be viewed as spectrums … spectra?):

- individualism/collectivism vs. familism/non-collectivism
universalism vs. particularism
civic-minded/commonweal oriented vs. not civic-minded/not commonweal oriented
liberal democracy vs. consensus democracy (or no democracy at all)
– low corruption vs. high corruption
low-violence vs. high-violence(?)
– no feuding vs. feuding

put all of these selected for behaviors together (plus, i’m sure, others that i haven’t thought of) in different average degrees in different populations, and you get different degrees of clannishness — or very little at all — in different populations.

previously: where do clans come from? and mating patterns, family types, social structures, and selection pressures and inbreeding and outbreeding and theories

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joshua keating wrote on his foreign policy blog last week:

Questions you never thought to ask: Is inbreeding bad for democracy?

heh. (~_^)

well, some of us HAVE thought to ask that very question, a couple of people waaaay before i did — going back to 2002 in fact:

- Consanguinity prevents Middle Eastern political development from parapundit.
Cousin Marriage Conundrum – from steve sailer. steve’s essay was also included in a volume co-edited by steven pinker, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004.

keating is referring to the woodley and bell paper, Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy: A Study of 70 Nations, which was published last year and which i blogged about here (and here and here and here) — and steve sailer also blogged about at the time.

just to refresh everyone’s memory, woodley and bell found a negative correlation (r = –0.632, p < 0.001) between the frequency of consanguineous marriages in the 70 nations at which they looked and the level of democracy in those countries. in other words, the greater the amount of consanguineous marriages in a country, the less democracy it probably has.

keating is not convinced:

“As a counterpoint, Iceland — a country so isolated and sparsely populated that people need an Android app to keep them from hooking up with a close relative — has had a representative parliament since the 10th century and a culture of individualism so strong they write Nobel Prize-winning novels about it. So there.”

two things.

first of all, it should be remembered that woodley and bell specifically looked for success at liberal democracy (fwiw, ymmv). from the paper:

“As conceived here, democracy refers to a system in which there is opportunity for competitive elections and deliberative referendums, with broad public participation encouraged for both (Vanhanen, 2003). Democracy in this instance refers exclusively to the liberal variety where the emphasis is on competitive politics, rather than the classical type in which the focus is on consensus building and statesmanship (Werlin, 2002). Two key characteristics of liberal democratic systems include the presence of institutions that permit citizens to express preferences for alternative policies and leaders, and the existence of institutionalized constraints that prevent the misuse of power by an executive elite (Inglehart, 2003; Lipset, 1959; Marshall & Jaggers, 2010).”

secondly, tenth century icelandic democracy was not an example of liberal democracy — and wasn’t right through to 1262 when the norwegian crown took over the governance of iceland. rather, the icelandic commonwealth was a system based on consensus which i posted about previously here.

early medieval icelanders were represented at their alþingi by regional chieftans known as goðar. nobody elected these goðar — they were the local strongmen from various areas of iceland, and they typically inherited their position, although these chieftainships were sometimes sold. you could, in theory, pick your own goði to whom you swore allegiance, but apparently in practice this rarely ever happened — because a lot of medieval icelanders were kin to their goðar [pdf], and it’s almost always bloody awkward to break it off with family — especially when you can’t easily move to the other side of the island or something.

so these early medieval icelandic “representatives” bore little resemblance to the representatives we have in modern, parliamentary systems (h*ck – maybe that was a good thing!). if you were an early medieval icelander, your alþingi representative was likely your kin, and you were probably stuck with him for life — until his son took over. this was not liberal democracy.

did the early medieval icelanders marry their cousins? i’m not sure. it’s very likely that their immediate ancestors from norway did (like the early medieval swedes probably did), and the medieval icelanders ignored many other of the church’s teachings and regulations on marriage at the time [pdf], so i wouldn’t be surprised if they did. the fact that medieval icelandic society seems to have devolved from one in which kinship was comparatively unimportant to a state where large clans controlled the place also suggests to me that they married their cousins — or at least mated awfully closely (they may not have had to marry very close cousins since they were such a small population to start off with).
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having said all that, when trying to work out why the medieval icelanders — or any other group for that matter — didn’t/don’t have liberal democracy, it’s not really important whether or not they were marrying their cousins at the time in question. well, it is … and it isn’t. (don’t pull your hair out just yet.)

what is important (i think) is whether or not the medieval icelanders — or any group-X — had been marrying their cousins over the long-term. i don’t think that there’s an instantaneous connection between cousin marriage (or other close mating) and failing to manage a functional liberally democratic system. what i think that there is are longer term evolutionary processes connected to inbreeding/outbreeding patterns and the selection for individualism vs. familism or clannism. and if you have clannism, liberal democracy will just not work.

woodley and bell acquired their consanguinity data from consang.net. here’s a map of those data:

consang net

what stands out right away is that consanguinity rates are very high in the arab world, the middle east, north africa, and places like pakistan and afghanistan, while rates are really low in the u.s. and scandinavia. that seems to fit the cousin-marriage-doesn’t-promote-democracy theory. but the cousin marriage rates in china are very low — same range as england and western europe. why don’t the chinese manage to have a liberal democracy then?

what you have to understand is that this map is a snapshot. it is a moment in time (mostly the twentieth century). it doesn’t tell us much about the history of cousin marriage in any of these societies — whether any of it’s been short-term or long-term — and without knowing that, we can’t even start to guess at any effects the mating patterns (and related family types) might’ve had on the evolution of behaviors in these populations, including those related to clannishness.

once you know, for instance, that up until very recently, the chinese actually preferred cousin marriage, then you can — i think — begin to understand why they’re clannish (or, at least, extended family-ish). and why, therefore, liberal democracy doesn’t work there — or didn’t arise there in the first place either.

rinse and repeat for all the other locales on the map.
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see also Cousin Marriage and Democracy @marginal revolution.

previously: liberal democracy vs. consensus building and democracy and endogamous mating practices and “hard-won democracy”

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jayman says/asks:

“Theoretically, Red Staters are more able to depend on extended family. But here’s a question on the matter: is that true *today*? Are Whites in the South and West *today* more kin-centric? My (somewhat limited) experience in those parts of the country seems to indicate that they’re just about as individualistic as Blue Staters. I understand that kin-groups are still a major feature in Appalachia, but how about the rest of red America?”

**ALERT, ALERT!: READER REQUEST!** (^_^)

ok. so i looked at the “behavioral familism” related questions in the 2002 gss to see how whites in the different regions of the u.s. responded to the following questions:

- “How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”
– “How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”
– “How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

the possible answers were:

- “More than twice in last 4 weeks.”
– “Once or twice in last 4 weeks.”
– “Not at all in last 4 weeks.”
– “I have no living relative of this type.”

as before, i collapsed the first two possible answers together to make a sorta “yes” repsonse (“yes, i’ve contacted that person in the last 4 weeks”).

here’s what i found (sorry, you might need your glasses to read these — wordpress has fixed it so that you can’t see a LARGER image in a new tab/window anymore. grrrrrr!):

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact uncles & aunts

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact newphews & nieces

gss 2002 - familism - u.s. whites - contact cousins

the patterns i see are:

- east south central (alabama, kentucky, mississippi and tennessee), a consistently red state area, comes in twice with the highest ranking — and is above the national average on those two questions.
new england, a consistently blue state area, comes in once with the highest ranking — and, in fact, is above the national average on all three questions. so no one can accuse the new englanders of not being oriented towards the extended family!

the above average scorers on the three questions were (map of regions here):

new england – above average 3 times
east south central – 2 times
east north central (wi, il, mi, in, oh) – 2 times
west south central (tx, ok, ar, la) – 2 times
west north central (nd, sd, ne, ks, mn, ia, mo) – 2 times
south atlantic (de, md, dc, va, wv, nc, sc, ga, fl) – once

- the pacific states (ak, wa, or, ca, hi), a mostly blue region (with the exception of alaska), came in twice with the lowest ranking.
– the mountain states, a mostly red region, came in once with the lowest ranking.

the below average scorers on the three questions were (map of regions here):

pacific – 3 times
mountain – 3 times
middle atlantic (NEW YORK! nj & pa) – 3 times
west north central (nd, sd, ne, ks, mn, ia, mo) – one time
south atlantic (de, md, dc, va, wv, nc, sc, ga, fl) – one time
east north central (wi, il, mi, in, oh) – one time

to me, it seems like there’s an east-west divide — white familism decreases around the rocky mountains and gets even lower on the west coast. i should’ve made some maps. maybe i’ll work on that.
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so, back to jayman’s question: “Are Whites in the South and West *today* more kin-centric?”

yes, whites in the south are pretty kin-centric, but not so much in the west. and new englanders are very kin-centric — so there! (^_^) new yorkers are not.

i’ve got the data for african-americans, too, so i’ll check them out in another post.

previously: familism in the u.s. of a. and hispanic family values

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following up from the last post on familism and corruption (familism, respect for parents, and corruption), here is the second element in lipset & lenz’s “familism index”: “the percentage of people [responding on the world values survey] who think that divorce is unjustifiable.” i looked at the 1999-2002 world values survey wave. the relevant question is:

“Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between: Divorce.”

i took the “Never justifiable” responses and plotted them against the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index results — and got a correlation of -0.58. not as high a correlation as between “respect for parents” and corruption (-0.72), but still pretty high. so the more you feel that divorce is unjustifiable whatever the circumstances, the more corrupt you’re likely to be (click on chart for LARGER view):

here’s the data table for the above chart sorted by the “Never justifiable” responses (highest to lowest). i’ve got the fbd marriage groups (the arabs & co.) in red, and the european groups that i think have been outbreeding for the longest (netherlands, germany, great britain, belgium and france) in blue (click on table for LARGER view):

again, italians and the irish in ireland more familistic on this scale than the people in great britain. and mexicans MUCH more so.

previously: familism, respect for parents, and corruption and familism in the u.s. of a. and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and hispanic family values and familism and facebook

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m.g. points out (thanks, m.g.!) that in “Corruption, Culture, and Markets,” lipset & lenz worked up a “familism index.” unfortunately, they don’t seem to have published it anywhere — at least not that m.g. or i can find. they do describe it in the above mentioned chapter, though, along with a terrific summary of familism and its related … problems. here is a longish quote from them [pgs. 119-120 - links and emphases added by me]:

“Amoral Familism

“The second major cultural framework, one derived from Plato via Banfield, assumes that corruption is in large part an expression of particularism — the felt obligation to help, to give resources to persons to whom one has a personal obligation, to the family above all but also to friends and membership groups. Nepotism is its most visible expression. Loyalty is a particularistic obligation that was very strong in precapitalist, feudal societies. As Weber implied, loyalty and the market are antithetical. The opposite of particularism is universalism, the commitment to treat others according to a similar standard. Market norms express universalism; hence, pure capitalism exhibits and is sustained by such values.

“Plato contended two and a half millennia ago that family ties, especially those between parents and children, are the chief forces underlying institutionalized social classes and ascription. He argued that to create an egalitarian society, a communist one, such ties — the family itself — would have to be eliminated. Children would have to be reared from birth in public institutions, not knowing their parents. Plato, of course, could not have believed that a society without parental ties was viable, but his discussion points up the social power he attached to the family.

“In trying to understand capitalism’s initial rise in Protestant cultures, Weber noted that the pre-industrial norms in Catholic societies were communitarian, requiring above all that the society, the family, and the dominant strata help the less fortunate. He believed that these vales worked against the emergence of a rationally driven market economy. Conversely, a stress on individualism, concern for self, is more conducive to capital accumulation. Calvinism and Protestant sectarianism fostered such behavior. Sectarians believe that God helps those who help themselves. Weber pointed out that ‘the great achievement of … the ethical and ascetic sects of Protestantism was to shatter the fetters of the sib [the extended family].’ As Lawrence Harrison notes, ‘There is evidence that the extended family is an effective institution for survival but an obstacle to development.’ Solidarity with the extended family and hostility to the outsider who is not a member of family, the village, or perhaps the tribe can produce a self-interested culture.

“Edward Banfield, studying southern Italy, carried the analysis further with the concept of ‘amoral familism': a culture that is deficient in communitarian values but fosters familial ties. He writes: ‘In a society of amoral familists, no one will further the interest of the group or community except as it is to his private advantage to do so.’ There is little loyalty to the larger community or acceptance of behavioral norms that require support of others. Hence, familism is amoral, gives rise to corruption, and fosters deviance from norms of universalism and merit. Anything goes that advance the interests of one’s self and family. The Mafia is an extreme example of amoral familism. Banfield, in effect, argues that corruption in southern Italy and comparable traditional societies is an expression of forces similar to those that sustain the Mafia.

“The World Values Survey 1990, together with aggregate statistics from the World Bank, provide data that we employ to create a scale of familism. The first item in the scale deals with unqualified respect for parents, measured by the percentage of people who agreed that regardless of the qualities and faults of one’s parents, a person must always love and respect them. The second item is the percentage of people who think that divorce is unjustifiable. The third, from the World Bank, is the mean number of children per woman.

Those nations that score high on this scale tend to be among the more corrupt. Known for their strong familial ties, most Asian nations rank among the more corrupt. On the other hand, Scandinavians are by far the lowest on the familism scale — as noted, these countries are considered the least corrupt. Regression analysis affirms the association. The familism scale and CPI relate strongly. The relationship remains significant when controlling for per capita income. A model that includes the familism scale, the achievement scale, and purchasing power parity explains a great deal of the variation in the CPI.”
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i don’t think that what we’re witnessing here — the differences between particularistic and universalistic societies — is a cultural phenomenon. i’m sure that cultural practices reinforce the behaviors that you find in these two types of societies, but what i think we’re looking at are innate behavioral tendencies that differ between these different population types due, in part, to their mating patterns histories. it’s partly mating patterns (inbreeding or outbreeding) and partly selection for which of these sets of behavioral traits worked in the various populations’ evolutionary histories (the two things are connected, i think).

lots of inbreeding over the course of many, many generations alters the relatedness between family members which, in turn, can eventually — via a little evolutionary magic — affect how altruistic these family members wind up being towards one another and/or towards unrelated individuals. so the english and other nw europeans, with their (comparatively) long history of (comparatively strong) outbreeding (see mating patterns in europe series below ↓ in left-hand column), tend towards universalism, lack of familism, low levels of corruption, high levels of civicness and liberal democracy. at the opposite end of the spectrum, arabs and other middle eastern/maghrebian/mashriqian/south asian muslims with their (comparatively) long history of (comparatively strong) inbreeding (see also here), tend towards particularlism, strong familism, high levels of corruption, low levels of civicness and difficulties with liberal democracy.

familism, then, i think — although interesting in and of itself — is a symptom of a set of underlying innate behavioral traits, namely those connected to familial altruism. the more “genes for familial altruism” (whatever they might be) your population possesses, the less universalistic, etc., etc., it is going to be — and vice versa. familism reflects another aspect of human biodiversity, and is not just an example human cultural diversity.

(sorry if i sound like a broken record, but there’ve been some new folks stopping by here lately — hi, new folks! — and i thought they might appreciate a crash course on The Theory.)
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so, lipset & lenz hinted around at a familism index that they had devised, but not published anywhere(?), so i thought i’d try to reconstruct it as best as i could. the first element in their index is “unqualified respect for parents, measured by the percentage of people who agreed [on the world values survey] that regardless of the qualities and faults of one’s parents, a person must always love and respect them”. lipset & lenz looked at the world values survey for 1990 — i looked at a more recent wave: 1999-2002. the question is:

With which of these two statements do you tend to agree?:
A. Regardless of what the qualities and faults of one’s parents are, one must always love and respect them.
B. One does not have the duty to respect and love parents who have not earned it by their behaviour and attitudes.

i took the “A. Always” responses and plotted them against the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index results — and got a correlation of -0.72 (so the more you feel you should always love/respect your parents no matter how horrible they are, the more corrupt you’re likely to be – click on chart for LARGER view):

here’s the data table for the above chart sorted by the “Always” responses (highest to lowest). i’ve got the fbd marriage groups (the arabs & co.) in red, and the european groups that i think have been outbreeding for the longest (netherlands, germany, great britain, belgium and france — there might be a few more that need to be included — like the swedes?) in blue (click on table for LARGER view):

note that the italians exhibit much more familism (79.40%) on this scale than the population of great britain (65.10%) and are also more corrupt (3.9 on the cpi versus 7.8 for the british). this appears to support what i found in my familism in the u.s. of a. post the other day — that italian-americans are more familistic than anglo-americans. (see this post for some recent history on inbreeding in italy.)

similarly, the irish (in ireland) respect their parents no matter what more than the british (71.90% vs. 65.10%), but they’re not at all as corrupt as the italians (7.5 on the cpi). and the roman catholic irish in the u.s. are more familistic than anglo-americans. (see this post for a brief history of inbreeding/mating patterns in ireland.)

and mexicans! 90.20% said they’d respect their parents no matter what. 3.0 on the cpi. and very familistic in the u.s. (see this post for a little info on the history of inbreeding/mating patterns in part of mexico.)

these, i think, are innate, not just learned, feelings (reinforced by cultural practices, i’m sure), and they’re not going to change anytime soon as shown by the fact that italian- and irish-americans are still very familistic despite living amongst the anglo-americans for several generations now.

previously: familism in the u.s. of a. and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and hispanic family values and familism and facebook
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edit - see this comment below for explanation:

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

vasilis asked a good set of questions the other day:

“I wonder, doesn’t immigration break apart the extended family into nuclear family fragments? Does anyone actually bring along all 52 first cousins with them, along with spouses, children, parents etc? Of course ‘familismo’ values will be carried over the border, but to what degree can they be instilled in the next generation in the absence of all these people in their daily lives?”

now that i’ve thought about it a bit, though, i wonder if the picture he paints isn’t one that was more true of 20+ years ago than it is today in our über-connected world. i mean, i can follow in real time how my 12 year-old first cousin-once-removed’s gymnastics competition is going — or commiserate with her on how horrible her school lunch was today — and she lives in a different country! i can keep in touch with her and her brother and all my other cousins’ kids in a way i couldn’t do with their parents. back in the day, it was the odd phone call and even (omg) letters. now it’s email, facebook and txt messaging. instant gratification for the familist! (~_^)

and anyway, we’ve seen that both italian-americans and r.c. irish-americans are more familistic than anglo-americans, and … how long have they been in the country now? how long does this assimilation business take anyway?

assmiliation? pshaw. here from “Who is to blame for fractured Britain?” published last year in the telegraph:

“What ruined our community and the personality of our neighbourhood were the young Eastern Europeans who poured in from 2004 onwards. I am not criticising the character of these young migrants. They were generally hardworking, eager and ambitious. But they arrived all at once in large numbers and, most significantly, had zero interest in integrating. They lived and socialised exclusively together, watched Polish television channels via their satellite dishes, chatted to family back home for free on Skype, set up Polish shops to sell Polish food, newspapers and books, and they learnt only as much English as they had to. Seeing shop after little shop put up the words Polski sklep marked the end of the village I knew.”

mexicans in the u.s. don’t even need satellite television. they’ve got univision which is available on cable. any idiota can hook it up. i don’t know how much mexicans/hispanics in the u.s. use facebook, or if they’re all still on myspace, but they’ve (nearly) all got cellphones afaict and, i’m sure, can txt pretty easily to family members back home in mexico/wherever.

nope. i have a bad feeling that modern communications — not to mention the ease of travel nowadays — prolly lends itself to greater opportunities for immigrants to practice familism if they want than ever before. i know i can.

previously: hispanic family values and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and familism in the u.s. of a.

(note: comments do not require an email. boo scary!)

following up from yesterday’s post, i thought i’d look at familism in some other ethnic groups in the u.s. in addition to the anglos and mexicans.

again, i’m looking at how much contact the individuals from different groups have with family members. this is a way of measuring “behavioral familism” — familism “expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties”. this time i stuck to just extended-family members (aunt/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins) ’cause i thought that might be more telling — if you’re in regular contact … a LOT … with these more distant relatives, you’re probably familistic. that’s my thinking, anyway.

looked at the following questions from the 2002 general social survey:

- “How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”
“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”
“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

the possible answers were:

- “More than twice in last 4 weeks.”
“Once or twice in last 4 weeks.”
“Not at all in last 4 weeks.”
“I have no living relative of this type.”

i’ve collapsed the first two together to make the responses sorta “yes” or “no” (contacted x in the last 4 weeks). i also skipping the “no living relative” answer. if you’re dying to see all data, i can post it.

the variables chosen were: COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT UNCLES OR AUNTS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT NIECES AND NEPHEWS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT COUSIN, and for the irish RELIGION IN WHICH RAISED to try to distinguish the scotch-irish from roman catholic irish. none of it is perfect, i know, but you gotta work with whatcha got.

the countries with a good-sized data set (n≧50) were: england & wales (the “anglos” – n=96), italy (n=53-54), scotch-irish (protestant irish – n=51), and germany (n=150). the mexicans (n=32) and irish catholics (n=42-43) came up a little short, but i’ve included them anyway. keep in mind that the numbers for those two groups are kinda low.

without further ado (click on charts for LARGER views)…

“How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”

“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”

“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

as you can see, in each of the three categories, all of the other groups are in contact with their distant-ish relatives more than the anglos — except for the scotch-irish who appear to behave the most like the anglos here. mexicans are much more likely to keep in regular contact with their aunts/uncles or nieces/nephews than anglo-americans (53% vs. 32% and 75% vs. 48% respectively), but italian-americans are also much more likely to keep in touch with their aunts/uncles on a monthly basis (47%). the roman catholic irish, too, more familistic than anglo-americans — and even german-americans, except for the keeping-in-touch-with-nieces/nephews category, appear to be more familistic than anglo-americans.

so much for assimilation.

remember that familism goes hand-in-hand with fun things like corruption.

i also think it’s kinda neat to see that the familism goes more in the direction of the genetic flow than not: greater contact by aunts/uncles to nieces/nephews than the reverse, for instance. cool.

previously: anglo-american vs. mexican family values

(note: comments do not require an email. familism!)

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