Archives for posts with tag: united states

on the recommendations of jayman and benjamin (thanks, guys!), i’m reading colin woodard‘s American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, and, so far, it is terrific!

except for this paragraph which appears in the introduction:

“Finally, I’d like to underscore the fact that becoming a member of a nation usually has nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with culture. One doesn’t *inherit* a national identity the way one gets hair, skin, or eye color; one *acquires* it in childhood or, with great effort, through voluntary assimilation later in life. Even the ‘blood’ nations of Europe support this assertion. A member of the (very nationalistic) Hungarian nation might be descended from Austrian Germans, Russian Jews, Serbs, Croats, Slovaks, or any combination thereof, but if he speaks Hungarian and embraces Hungarian-ness, he’s regarded as being just as Hungarian as any ‘pure-blooded’ Magyar descendant of King Árpád. In a similar vein, nobody would deny French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Frenchness, even though his father was a Hungarian noble and his maternal grandfather a Greek-born Sephardic Jew. The same is true of the North American nations: if you talk like a Midlander, act like a Midlander, and think like a Midlander, you’re probably a Midlander, regardless of whether your parents or grandparents came from the Deep South, Italy, or Eritrea.”

poppycock!

what does woodard base his assertion upon? nothing. no references backing up what he says whatsoever (just a couple of little anecdotal news stories). his “a nation usually has nothing to do with genetics” statement just hangs there in midair like … something just hanging there in midair.

what do i base my “poppycock” reaction on? actual biological evidence:

european populations - genetics

nations — as in nasci (to “be born”) — exist as real, biologically based populations — with fuzzy edges, of course, because it’s biology that we’re talking about. that doesn’t make them any the less identifiable as populations (see map above). and different nations have their own, innate characteristics. those that are closer to each other are more alike to one another, of course, because it’s easier to swap genes if you’re neighbors (especially in the past — nowadays, with modern transportation, almost anything goes — theoretically anyway).

the population of the united states is, obviously, much more tumbled up than old world ones, but oddly people keeping spotting the fact that there are different regional cultures across the u.s. — different nations as woodard puts it. this isn’t (wholly) down to “culture.” and, despite all the ethnic/racial mixing in the country, this is probably very much down to biology — and woodard, unbeknowst to himself, explains how this can be:

“Our continent’s famed mobility — and the transportation and communications technology that foster it — has been reinforcing, not dissolving, the differences between the nations. As journalist Bill Bishop and sociologist Robert Cushing demonstrated in The Big Sort (2008), since 1976 Americans have been relocating to communities where people share their values and worldview<…. As Americans sort themselves into like-minded communities, they’re also sorting themselves into like-minded nations.

americans (and immigrants to the u.s.) have been getting up and moving to areas of the country where they can find people like themselves. so american “cultural” regions — woodard’s nations — have persisted. thanks to self-sorting.

apart from that one paragraph, American Nations is really terrific! i, too, recommend it. (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. one of my favorite nations!)

Mental Health Diagnoses and Recidivism in Paroled Offenders“Offenders with borderline personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were significantly more likely to recidivate or be suspended.”

Psychopathic Traits Seen in Children’s Brains“Children with severe behavioral problems have a suppressed response to others’ pain, according to new brain-scan research.”

Cultural modernity and behavioral modernity“Some societies have gone farther than others along the trajectory that leads to cultural modernity and, in time, behavioral modernity.” – another great post from peter frost! (he forgot to mention the likely effects of mating patterns on societies, but that’s ok. (~_^) )

The Split Personality of America“The 20 states scoring highest on Neuroticism are all bordering to the [mississippi] river or east of it. Of the 20 states that score the lowest on this trait, 16 are in the western region – including all of the bottom 10.” – nice post from staffan!

Obesity and IQ and IQ and Death – from jayman.

Music and class – from the awesome epigone.

HVGIQ: Bermuda – from jason malloy @human varieties.

Disputed Results a Fresh Blow for Social Psychology“Failure to replicate intelligence-priming effects ignites row in research community”

and speaking of frauds: Symmetry study deemed a fraud“University finds evidence of fakery in Jamaican dance data.”

Modern European ADMIXTURE components = Neolithic ecological zones (+ post-Neolithic in-situ expansions)The revenge of the hunter-gatherer genes! – @eurogenes, via charles.

Monkey math“Zoo baboons shed light on the brain’s ability to understand numbers.”

Small-bodied humans from the Terminal Pleistocene in Tanzania – @dienekes.

“Selfish Spermatogonial Selection”: A Novel Mechanism for the Association Between Advanced Paternal Age and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Older U.S.-born Mexican-Americans have more physical limitations than Mexican American immigrants: Study

Study: How Yoga Alters Genes – not genes, but gene expression.

bonus: Suicide rate up sharply“‘The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported Thursday. The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group.’” – from mr. mangan.

bonus bonus: Path From ‘Social Butterfly’ to Boston Suspect’s Widow – the elder tsarnaev’s wife was caught shoplifting once (before she ever met him). men always marry their mothers! (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus: If American Guns Wrecking Mexico Why Not Canada? – excellent question from parapundit.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: “Everything You Have Learned in School is Wrong” – nightmare immigration stories from norway @gates of vienna. don’t miss the follow-up.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Skeleton of teenage girl confirms cannibalism at Jamestown colony

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A 17th-Century Russian Community Living in 21st-Century Alaska“This clan has traveled from Russia through China, Brazil, and Oregon to make a home in the remote north, struggling to avoid modernization.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Vatican uncovers ‘first Western painting of Native Americans’“They have remained hidden for more than five centuries, but tiny figures of naked men wearing feathered head-dresses could be the first Western depiction of Native Americans, the Vatican claims.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Rolling fistfight erupts in Venezuelan parliament over disputed election – i love fights in parliaments. (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: New Study Finds Nothing That Will Actually Convince You To Change Your Lifestyle So Just Forget It

(note: comments do not require an email. taiwan parliament fight.)

i came across these stats from the bureau of justice statistics while looking for something else. i thought i’d post them, even though they make me sad. =(

from Homicide Trends in the U.S. (2007) [pdf]:

infanticide rates - u.s. - graph

well that table pretty much speaks for itself.

parents are the perpetrators in most homicides of children under the age of five…

infanticide rates - u.s. - relationship with offender

…but the key thing to remember here is that the bureau includes STEPPARENTS in these figures. then you’re (naturally) gonna get the cinderella effect — mostly men getting rid of the offspring of other men.

and it is mostly men. from page 34 of the report (remember “fathers” includes stepfathers):

“Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 –
- 31% were killed by fathers
- 29% were killed by mothers
- 23% were killed by male acquaintances
- 7% were killed by other relatives
- 3% were killed by strangers

“Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.”

and they’re mostly young, reproductive-age men (and women) — again, naturally. on page 23 we learn that 81.3% of the perpetrators of infanticide were between the ages of 18 and 34.

also, a gruesome fact that i posted about before: stepparents, typically, kill their stepkids (when they do kill their stepkids) in a more brutal fashion than biological parents do. =/

and … i didn’t realize … men kill more male children than female. very interesting:

infanticide rates - u.s. - by sex

males getting rid of rival males’ male offspring. fascinating.

also interesting, the younger the child, the greater the risk for infanticide:

infanticide rates - u.s. - by age

i wonder if this has to do with very young children — babies — not really having a “personality” yet? yes, i know that they do when you really know them, but you know what i mean — a five year old kid has a more … observable, noticeable … personality than a five month old. maybe it’s kinda “easier” to kill something without much personality than a little person that talks back to you? dunno.

if i were to give women any advice, i’d say be very, very careful in picking your second husband or next boyfriend/baby daddy if you’ve got a young kid(s). and i’d be extra very, very careful if picking an african american man as a second husband/boyfriend/baby daddy. if i were to give men any advice, i’d say keep a watch on your ex’s choice of any subsequent partners if you’ve had a kid(s) with her.

previously: the cinderella effect, again and more on the cinderella effect and evo psych in need of a little hbd? and killing kids & step-kids, part ii

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

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.
_____

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

(note: comments do not require an email. baby polar bear!)

now (that the annual week-and-a-half of eating dark-chocolate easter eggs is over) where was i?

ah yes — i was saying that, even though i haven’t read Why Nations Fail, i don’t buy the authors’ explanation because, from what i can gather from the contents of the book and the snippets available online, they don’t appear to consider any biological reasons for the successes of some nations. acemoglu and robinson (a&r) think that nations fail because said nations lack the right institutions; i think nations fail because the populations of those nations lack the “right” happy combination of genes for all sorts of things like iq and altruistic behaviors, etc., etc. sure, the right institutions are important, but first of all you have to have the “right sort” of people who can build those right institutions.

a&r think that the glorious revolution in england established the right kind of institutions there — i presume they’re thinking of the english parliament’s bill of rights of 1689 presented to king billy as the conditions he would have to accept if he were to be allowed to invade ascend to the throne of england. and, yes, this was the point that constitutional monarchy was formally established in england; but i would argue (and i don’t think i’m alone in thinking this) that there was a long-term trend toward constitutional monarchy in england and that, really, the “revolution” that brought that about was the civil war (or civil wars) that happened thirty to forty years before the so-called glorious revolution. and even those wars don’t explain why the english (and anglos pretty much everywhere) established all the institutions that they did and suceeded in the ways that they did.

steve sailer and dearime didn’t like the glorious revolution as the answer to why england succeeded either. steve says that the people who benefited the most from the glorious revolution were oligarchs and not the common men of england — i don’t know about that, but knowing how “revolutions” often play out it sounds pretty plausible. dearime thought i was off my rocker with my comments about the events of the glorious revolution (bad writing — sorry), but what i think really happened is that there wasn’t any revolution at all in england like the one a&r have envisioned — a revolution in which:

“People fought for and won more political rights, and they used them to expand their economic opportunities.”

not any single revolution, anyway.

what i think happened in england is that the changes towards making that society a more individualistic one based on the rights of individuals (and not extended families or clans or tribes) happened gradually over several hundreds of years (see here and here and here). (those changes are biological, btw.) like i said in the previous post, i think a&r are looking for a single anglo revolution of indepedence which established the “right” institutions ’cause they want to sell their idea to whomever believes that events like an arab spring will somehow result in flourishing liberal democracies with modern capitalistic societies based on trust. ’cause, you know … all you need is one little revolution that establishes the “right” institutions to release all these untapped human resources in any population anywhere. only that’s not how it happened in england.

and whatever did happen in england (i think it was, comparatively speaking, lots of outbreeding over an extended period of time which resulted in changes in “genes for altruism” in the english population) happened unevenly across the country. from what i have gathered so far — and note that these conclusions of mine will likely change as i find out more about historical mating patterns in england/britian (and maybe i’ll find out i’m wrong altogether!) — the greatest degrees of outbreeding occurred in the east of england — east anglia and kent, for example — and, to a somewhat lesser degree, in areas of wessex. greater amounts of inbreeding continued until fairly recent times in areas of western britain — wales and cornwall (i think) and western scotland, as well as in the anglo-scottish border areas. (there are a couple of areas in britain for which i haven’t got a clue about the historical mating patterns — they include eastern scotland and northern areas of england like yorkshire. i’m working on those!)

so, very broadly speaking, there’s an east-west divide in england (britain?) between outbreeders in the east and inbreeders in the west … and another kinda/sorta north-south divide in england between places like essex and wessex and northumbria. these mating pattern differences were, back in the medieval period, paralleled by different family types present in different regions of england/britain.

and, afaics, the english civil war(s) between parliamentarians and royalists was just a war between eastern individualistic outbreeders and western and northern group-oriented inbreeders. think of the eastern association: essex, hertfordshire, norfolk, suffolk, cambridgeshire. in other words, the most outbred of the english. at the outset of the civil war, it was them vs. the inbreeders:

anonymous is not convinced that all the peoples of western britain have historically (well, throughout the medieval period) been inbreeders. he pointed out that the scots convenanters were not royalists and they were located in sw scotland, so if my inbreeding-outbreeding theory is right, they should be outbreeders.

i don’t know what the historic mating patterns were for large parts of scotland, but i intend to find out. i’m pretty sure that the populations of the western isles — the areas that had been part of the kingdom of dál riata — and the highlands must’ve been inbreeders (like the irish) until quite recently since (like the irish) they have been more clannish than other scots until quite recently. while the covenanters of the sw (where exactly?) were not royalists, the more inbred highlanders were. i need to find out more about the historic mating patterns of the scots. i’ll let ya know when i’ve done so.

anyway, to conclude — i think that acemoglu and robinson are looking for an english revolution that didn’t happen — not at any specific moment in time anyway.

oh, and the eastern english outbreeders and western and northern english inbreeders fought a couple of civil wars against one another: once (or a couple of times) in the seventeenth century, and again a couple of hundred years later, but that time on a different continent.

biological differences die hard.

previously: why nations fail and but what about the english? and english individualism and english individualism ii

(note: comments do not require an email. “Bite him peper.”)

thomas friedman likes the explanation of acemoglu (that’s turkish armenian!) and robinson:

“Nations thrive when they develop ‘inclusive’ political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become ‘extractive’ and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

“‘Inclusive economic institutions that enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few,’ they write….”

uh huh. ok.

so, how you gonna get these “inclusive” institutions up and running in a place like … oh … egypt? in other words, how do you get from point a (‘extractive’ institutions) to point b (‘inclusive’ institutions)? a&r suggest ‘just build it and they will come’:

“Why is Egypt so much poorer than the United States? What are the constraints that keep Egyptians from becoming more prosperous? Is the poverty of Egypt immutable, or can it be eradicated? A natural way to start thinking about this is to look at what the Egyptians themselves are saying about the problems they face and why they rose up against the Mubarak regime…. Egyptians and Tunisians both saw their economic problems as being fundamentally caused by their lack of political rights….

“To Egyptians, the things that have held them back include an ineffective and corrupt state and a society where they cannot use their talent, ambition, ingenuity, and what education they can get. But they also recognize that the roots of these problems are political. All the economic impediments they face stem from the way political power in Egypt is exercised and monopolized by a narrow elite. This, they understand, is the first thing that has to change….

“In this book we’ll argue that the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, not most academics and commentators, have the right idea. In fact, Egypt is poor precisely because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that have organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the vast mass of people. Political power has been narrowly concentrated, and has been used to create great wealth for those who possess it, such as the $70 billion fortune apparently accumulated by ex-president Mubarak. The losers have been the Egyptian people, as they only too well understand.

We’ll show that this interpretation of Egyptian poverty, the people’s interpretation, turns out to provide a general explanation for why poor countries are poor. Whether it is North Korea, Sierra Leone, or Zimbabwe, we’ll show that poor countries are poor for the same reason that Egypt is poor. Countries such as Great Britain and the United States became rich because their citizens overthrew the elites who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed, where the government was accountable and responsive to citizens, and where the great mass of people could take advantage of economic opportunities. We’ll show that to understand why there is such inequality in the world today we have to delve into the past and study the historical dynamics of societies. We’ll see that the reason that Britain is richer than Egypt is because in 1688, Britain (or England, to be exact) had a revolution that transformed the politics and thus the economics of the nation. People fought for and won more political rights, and they used them to expand their economic opportunities. The result was a fundamentally different political and economic trajectory, culminating in the Industrial Revolution….

ok. i haven’t read (or, rather, listened) to this book — and i probably ain’t gonna — but i’ll betcha (*hbd chick rummages through her purse*) 98¢ and a bus token that these guys haven’t tried to figure out WHY in the seventeenth century the ENGLISH (note not ALL the peoples of britain) “fought for and won more political rights” which they then used “to expand their economic opportunities.” what was it about this particular group of people at this particular time that enabled them to join together en masse to demand greater political rights and freedoms for ALL the people (men) in the country?

why should the english in england and later in the americas behave so unlike nearly every other group on the planet and become all hot and bothered about the rights of individuals in society? why should they start to have screwy notions like ‘everybody is created equal’ and that each man (and, later, woman) is endowed with ‘unalienable rights’? and how on earth are we going to get the egyptians … and the north koreans and the sierra leoneans and the zimbabweans and everyone else … to act like the english? to rise up and demand political rights and to create all these inclusive institutions? to ALL work TOGETHER towards a COMMON goal.

because, surely, that must be the order required: to find out what made the english do what they did and then recreate those circumstances in all these other places.

apart from all the usual sorts of hbd characteristics required to produce an advanced society (like intelligence), you all know what i’m gonna say is needed. and my solution is not something that will work overnight.

and egyptians are a long, long way away from being anything like the english in terms of genetic relatedness to one another. nope. they are much more like the people in iraq who anthropologist robin fox described thusly [pg. 62]:

“For a start, there is no ‘Iraqi People.’ The phrase should be banned as misleading and purely rhetorical. Iraq as a ‘nation’ (like the ‘nation’ of Kuwait) was devised by the compasses and protractors of Gertrude Bell when the British and French divided up the Middle East in 1921. We know well enough the ethnic-religious division into Kurd, Sunni, and Shia. People who know very little else can rehearse that one (even if they do not really know the difference; the Kurds are Sunni, after all). But what is not understood is that Iraq, like the other countries of the region, still stands at a level of social evolution where the family, clan, tribe, and sect command major allegiance. The idea of the individual autonomous voter, necessary and commonplace in our own systems, is relatively foreign.

voting in egypt — also a society based on extended-families and clans — runs along clan-lines, too:

“‘Tribe, family, and religion—this is how people vote here,’ said Micheil Fayek, a candidate in Fayoum governorate, which includes Tomiya, for the liberal-leaning, but pro-military Wafd Party….

“‘Egyptian Election is based on individuals with strong tribal and family connections rather than on ideologies or programs of parties, and the only exception to this is the Islamist voters,” said Mr. Mahmoud, the head of the Hurriya Party, which includes ex-Mubarak regime members from around the country and who is also a candidate from a prominent family from southern Egypt. “It doesn’t it matter if I was a part of the ruling regime. Even if I was a member of the Israeli Likud, I would still win.’”

a&r’s solution to poverty in egypt is to simply get the egyptians to create inclusive institutions, but this will not work because, as things stand today, egyptian society is not structured on inclusive institutions. it is structured on exclusive families and clans which, unlike a rotary club, you can’t just join — you’ve got to be born into them. and egyptians are not going to give these up any time soon because they are just too inbred. oh, there are probably some rather outbred egyptian urbanites in cairo who are ready for a modern society based on liberal democracy (for what that’s worth), but most egyptians are not those people.

and most of the rest of the world is like iraq and egypt in one way or another. almost everywhere except, due to some curious twists of history, northwest europe.

most economists just don’t get it ’cause they don’t think of humans as biological creatures. i’m gonna write a book one day and i’m gonna title it: Why Economists Fail.

see also: Egypt’s families remain electoral forces to reckon with — really, don’t miss it!

previously: “hard-won democracy”

update 04/14: see also not the revolution they’re looking for

update 04/15: An association between the kinship and fertility of human couples

(note: comments do not require an email. eg. the abaza family of egypt.)

from (of all places) the guardian (they’re prolly gloating) [click on map for LARGER version]:

(note: comments do not require an email. or map-folding skills.)

i was googling something about ireland and tribes and clans for my last (why so) serious post, and came across this: Galway – City of the Tribes. heh! who knew?

they weren’t really tribes, tho, but extended mercantile families who ran the show in galway during the medieval period — until cromwell kicked them out, that is. there were fourteen of these “tribe” families — twelve were of anglo-norman origin and two of irish origin.

i don’t actually know for sure, but i betcha these fourteen “tribes” married and re-married each other over and over again. keep the money and power in the extended families, of course. i base this guess on what i read about the ruling oligarchy of medieval brussels…

tumbling down the rabbit hole that is wikipedia, i followed a link from the fourteen tribes of galway page (divided by two) to the seven noble houses of brussels page:

“The Seven noble houses of Brussels were the seven families of Brussels whose descendants formed the patrician class of that city, and to whom special privileges in the government of that city were granted until the end of the Ancien Régime…. All the members of the city council were exclusively recruited and elected from among those families who could prove patrilinear or matrilinear descent from the original seven families.”

these seven noble houses of brussels, in turn, reminded me about…

“Age, marriage, and politics in fifteenth-century Ragusa” (ragusa’s in sicily present-day dubrovnik!, btw). as in medieval brussels, you had to be a (male) member of one of these patrician families in order to be on the governing council of ragusa. here’s a taste of what these families’ mating patterns looked like [pgs. 102-104]:

“Marital Alliances Among the Casate [Ruling Houses]

“What was the significance of the casata for the marriages of its members? If marriages were arranged with a view towards their political usefulness and if the casata acted as a unit in political affairs, then we would expect to see evidence of casata involvement in arranging marriages…. [The researcher looked at] all marriage occurring between 1400 and 1520….

“[L]et us begin by examining marriages of the largest casata, the Goce. There were 207 Goce patrician marriages between 1400 and 1520 of which 191 were between the Goce and twenty-eight other casate. Eight were endogamous marriages between Goce sections. Like most of the larger casate within the patriciate, the Goce spread their marriages widely. This might be expected from the large number of Goce who married, the patriciate’s relatively small size and the Church’s restrictions on close kin marriage. But if the casate tended to spread their marriages broadly, that did not mean that they spread them evenly or in similar fashion.

“To study patterns of marriage alliance, a matrix of all marriages between casate was constructed. This information, however, is difficult to interpret because the casate differ so considerably in size and in the number of their marriages. One is more likely to marry a Goce than a Bocinolo, other things being equal, because there are many more Goce available for marriage than there are Bocinolo. Furthermore, we find that the Goce did not marry into eight casate. Since these were amongst the smallest of the casate, it is difficult to know whether this absence should be taken as an indication of dislike or simply lack of opportunity.

“To make allowance for the differences in numbers of persons marrying, the following procedure was adopted. First, it was assumed that if casata affiliation were not an important consideration in marital choice, then any individual male would be equally likely to marry any other individual female. On this basis the expected number of marriages between casate was calculated. Then the difference between the expected number of marriages and the actual number was calculated. A zero difference would indicate that the number of marriages which occurred between two casate was just about what would be expected on the basis of chance. A relatively large positive number would indicate an attraction between casate whereas a large negative one would indicate indifference or aversion….

If we examine the total number of marriages, it is possible to discern some clustering of allied casate. At the centre of one web of intermarrying casate are the Sorgo, one of the largest casate. They exchange with the Grade and Zamagna in fifteen and twelve marriages, respectively. The Grade and Zamagna also exchange with one another. These three casate are strongly interlinked by marriage ties and I shall refer to them as the Sorgo triangle. The Sorgo are also linked to the Caboga through seven marriages, but the Caboga show no special relationship with the other two Sorgo partners, the Grade and Zamagna. The Caboga have two marriages with the Zamagna, less than would be expected by chance, and the nature of their tie with the Grade is very one-sided. All the Caboga/Grade marriages involved Caboga women marrying Grade men.”

the author then goes on to outline all the other repeat marriage alliances between other ragusa casate, but in the interest of sparing your sanity, i won’t reproduce all those paragraphs here. (i think you get the gist from looking at just one of the casata’s connections.) but here’s a nifty diagram he drew up showing the marriage connections between the households:

the point is, the ruling families of medieval ragusa kept their wealth and their political power in the patrician families simply by marrying one another over and over again. some had greater alliances with certain families than others, so no doubt this produced some rifts within the ruling family class. but most importantly, they generally did not marry outside of their class.

you would think that, looking at this all from an inclusive fitness p.o.v., the patrician families might start to look after themselves more than they did the common folk of ragusa, since over the centuries they inbred with one another, somewhat closing themselves off genetically from the — you know — riff-raff.

more from david rheubottom [pgs. 106-107]:

“In a small community such as patrician Ragusa, one might expect to find inter-linking through marriage occurring over time. While there is no evidence that the Ragusans prescribed marriage partners in the sense introduced by Levi-Strauss, there may be regularities over time in the exchange of partners. In the discussion of societes complexes elaborated by Heritier, it has been hypothesized that people may be inclined to marry the nearest relative available beyond the prohitied degree. This suggestion has been the centrepiece of Delille’s historical analysis of the repeat marriages in the Kingdom of Naples from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries and his claim that such marriages constitute an intermediate type between elementary and complex marriage systems (1985). This work is important not merely because it confronts conventional wisdom about South Italian kinship, but because it redirects anthropological attention to the possible linkage between marriage systems and larger kinship groups.

“We have seen that the age difference at marriage militates against direct exchange between sibling groups. [It was customary for Ragusan sisters to marry before their brothers, so men tended to marry at a later age than women.] But the same age differences might have another consequence. According to Heritier’s hypothesis, the closest descendants of a common ancestor that might marry would be cases where a groom marries his MMBDD [mother's mother's brother's daughter's daughter!, i.e. his second-cousin]. Given the age differences we have examined, such a marriage would occur when the linking ancestors (the groom’s mother’s mother and her brother) would be about 69 years old. The next most likely marriage would be between a man and his FMBSD [father's mother's brother's sister's daughter, i.e. another second cousin]. In this latter case the linking relatives (the groom’s father’s mother and her brother) would be about 84 years old at the time of marriage. Also in this latter case the bride’s casata and the groom’s paternal casata would be identical.

“Using genealogical records in the database, it is possible to trace back through the ancestors of both bride and groom to search for common ancestors. Taking the marriages which occurred between 1440 and 1490, I have attempted to trace the ancestry of both bride and groom through five generations. The depth of the genealogical data does not permit fruitful searches beyond this limit. It was possible to search for linking relatives for the partners of 345 marriages. Looking particularly for possible links in the generations between the ascending (the grandparental generation) and the fifth generation, the groom potentially has eighty possible ancestors whom he might share with his bride. In practice the number of possible links is much less because of gaps in the genealogical records. This number of gaps increases as one goes back in time.

Of the 345 marriages studied there are only sixty-three (18 per cent) in which there is an identifiable linking relative. It is surprising how few marriages show a linking relative although the small number may be due to lacunae in the genealogical database. The second surprise is that among those who are linked, no dominant pattern emerges. Significantly, given Heritier’s hypothesis, where linking relatives exist there are no cases where that relative is either the MMBDD or the FMBSD. The set of linking relatives are a very mixed (genealogical) bag.

“Following the conventions established by French studies of consanguine marriages where the numbers refer to ascending links to the common ancestor (the groom being given first), the most common link is between grandchildren of first cousins (4-4, with 27 instances). The next is 3-4 with 19 instances followed by 5-4 and 4-5 (with 9 and 8 instances, respectively). These, in turn, are followed by 3-5, 4-3, 5-5-, and so on. Since couple are linked in more than one way, the number of links is greater than the number of couples. But this material does not show any evidence of intermediate marriage systems in Ragusa such as those suggested by Delille for the Kingdom of Naples.

so, to translate, some of the members of the medieval ragusan ruling families were marrying distant cousins, but generally ones beyond the degree of second cousin. unlike in the kingdom of naples, many other ragusans did not marry even distant relatives, altho the researcher is not 100% certain about that. so, some ragusan ruling families were keeping it in their own family — but in their distant family.

i wonder what the mating patterns of the medieval brusseleer(?) ruling families and galway “tribes” were?

finally, luke mentioned the other day the “cousinocracy” of virginia. -!- i hadn’t heard about that before, so after i did a little googling, i found out that virginia’s cousinocracy pretty much consisted of the first families of virginia:

“First Families of Virginia (FFV) were those families in Colonial Virginia who were socially prominent and wealthy, but not necessarily the earliest settlers. They originated with colonists from England who primarily settled at Jamestown, Williamsburg, and along the James River and other navigable waters in Virginia during the 17th century. As there was a propensity to marry within their narrow social scope for many generations, many descendants bear surnames which became common in the growing colony….

The reins of power were held by a thin network of increasingly interrelated families. ‘As early as 1660 every seat on the ruling Council of Virginia was held by members of five interrelated families,’ writes British historian John Keegan, ‘and as late as 1775 every council member was descended from one of the 1660 councillors….’

“The intermarriages between these families meant that many shared the same names, sometimes just in different order — as in the case of Lt. Col. Powhatan Bolling Whittle of the 38th Virginia Infantry, Confederate States of America, the uncle of Matoaka Whittle Sims.”

interesting! keeping it in the family even in these united states. a couple of the cousinocracy familes are, btw, carter and lee.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

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