Archives for posts with tag: vendetta

The breeder’s equation – R = h2S – from greg cochran.

Making Europeans kinder, gentler – from peter frost.

Napoleon Chagnon: Blood is their Argument“‘It’s almost always for revenge. Blood is their argument. The Yanomamö will always attempt to avenge the death of a kinsman. It may take them a long time, and when the tables are turned on the guys that did it, like they get too small as a group, then it may appear to be a preemptive strike, but it has some historical roots. It’s almost never a case where they attack another Yanomamö village preemptively for no reason at all. It’s usually a consequence of some previous argument.'” – via habitable worlds: Darwin’s Dangerous Clan. see also Historical Reality: Infanticide vs Abortion @occam’s razor.

Zazes, Flurps and the Moral World of Kids – four-year-olds “assume that everybody else will be biased against other groups. And this extends beyond race, gender and religion to the arbitrary realm of Zazes and Flurps.” – h/t charles!

Manly Sweat Makes Other Men More Cooperative“A chemical component of other guys’ sweat makes men more cooperative and generous, new research says. The study is the first to show that this pheromone, called androstadienone, influences other men’s behavior and reinforces the developing finding that humans are susceptible and responsive to these chemical signals.”

120,000 Years of Cancer“A Neanderthal who lived more than 120,000 years ago had cancer of the bones, in the earliest known incidence of the disease found in the human fossil record, a new study reports.”

How does inbreeding avoidance evolve in plants?“Case study of Leavenworthia suggests that loss of complex traits may be reversed.”

A Requiem for Science – from john derbyshire.

The Gentleman Naturalist“[Darwin and Wallace's] papers were presented to the Linnean Society in July 1858, and met with silence: as Desmond and Moore say, ‘no fireworks exploded, only a damp squib’.”

ORIGINAL PAPER: How clever were the Victorians? A comment on Woodley et al. (2013) – from elijah armstrong!

The Onset and Development of B-W Ability Differences: Early Infancy to Age 3 (Part 1) – from jason malloy. see also dr. thompson: By the age of three, a clear gap in ability.

Slowing immigrant assimiliation“George Borjas’s latest paper released at NBER shows that newer waves of immigrants are less able to assimilate than previous immigrants waves.” – @gucci little piggy. see also: Two books, one conclusion. Immigration has been and is too high. @conservative home (u.k.).

The Real Threat to British Elites“Why British elites covered up the Pakistani pimps’ child gangrape horror.” – from steve sailer.

Population history of the Caribbean (Moreno-Estrada et al. 2013) and IBD sharing between Iberians and North Africans (Botigué et al. 2013) – @dienekes.

How Game Might Have Benefited Jason Richwine – ask and ye shall receive! [no double entendre intended. you guys have been reading too much roissy! (~_^) ] – good stuff from heartiste! (thanks, h!)

Geography, race, religion, and class“[W]ealthy suburban and rural blacks go to church more than poor inner-city blacks do, and wealthy suburban and rural whites attend more than poor inner-city whites do.” – from the awesome epigone.

People Are Overly Confident in Their Own Knowledge, Despite Errors

Ethnic policy in ancient Japan – from spandrell!

“‘[F]ertility may be a strategic choice for ethnic groups engaged in redistributive conflict'” [pdf] – via race/history/evolution notes.

Atheists turn to science during times of stress

Genetics and the increase in obesity – from jason collins. see also mr. mangan, esq.: The Rise of Mental Illness and Obesity.

100 Blog Posts – A Reflection on HBD Blogging And What Lies Ahead – from jayman. and jayman jr.!! (^_^)

Back in the saddle – m.g. @thosewhocansee is back (or will be back shortly)! yaaaaayyyyyy!!!! h/t nelson!

Human Biodiversity – Things You Are Not Supposed to Know About – from staffan!

bonus: Review of “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy – from foseti. see also this great set of “randoms” from mr. f. you should click through to every last one of them (if you haven’t already)!

bonus bonus: How the chicken lost its penis – a lesson for all!

bonus bonus bonus: Leviathan Unbound – from malcolm pollack.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: light entertainment – @PRISM_NSA on twitter and Obama Is Checking Your Email on tumblr. (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Life wasn’t all trouble at mill“[T]he Industrial Revolution came as a tremendous boom to a lot of working people: they earned far more than they had done before, escaped lives of crushing poverty and for the first time began to exert some measure of control over their lives.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Is Humbert Humbert Jewish?

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Fight to Save Ping Pong – excellent!

(note: comments do not require an email. dirty jobs – sexing baby chickens!)

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.)

couple of notes that i want to jot down (so i don’t forget them!) that i thought some of you might like to read, too. also, a bleg or two. i’ll start with the blegging to get it out of the way…
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how quickly can a population become clannish via close mating (ithiw)?

consider the dutch woonwagenbewoners or “caravan dwellers.” these are a group of about 30,000 people in the netherlands who live (or lived up until recently) a gypsy-like existence, but who are not related to gypsies. if i’m reading the google translation of the dutch wikipedia article correctly, the woonwagenbewoners adopted their nomadic lifestyle around 1850 — six-ish generations ago(?) if we count a generation as twenty-five years in length.

nowadays there are reports of woonwagenbewoners engaging in family feuds — one woonwagenbewoner family versus another woonwagenbewoner family (original heregoogle translation):

“On the Joost de Momperstraat, a stone’s throw from the Doolplein, sometimes with nostalgia thought back to the good old days. It was very cozy in ‘camp’, almost a big family. That is quite different. Since the murder of an inmate two years ago, there is a feud between two families caravan, which has already resulted in wild shootings, assaults and threats. A family has moved to another place – after the father – but the sultry atmosphere remained.”

this doesn’t sound like a full-fledged “bloedwraak” (vendetta), but it does sound like the woonwagenbewoners (love that word!) aren’t opposed to a little feuding — which typically goes along with clannishness.

presumably the woonwagenbewoners have tended to marry amongst themselves down through the years (although i don’t know that for certain). my question is: did they start off from very outbred dutch populations, or more inbred ones? in other words, were they already clannish when they hit the road, or is that something that’s developed in the last 150 or so years?

we know, for instance, that some of the dutch population — in friesland and in coastal areas — wasn’t manorialized like the rest of the netherlands during the medieval period and so stuck to the old ways for longer, probably including close marriages, but definitely including clannishness and blood feuding.

so my bleg is: anybody know where the woonwagenbewoners came from? a particular region or regions of the netherlands perhaps? inquiring hbd chicks want to know! any info on this group would be appreciated. (^_^)

ithiw = if that’s how it works.
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i had a post up before showing that father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage — the kind favored by arabs and other muslims in that area of the world — amounts to more inbreeding than other forms of cousin marriage because it, in effect, leads to more double-first cousin marriage. well, here’s another reason the whole system leads to greater inbreeding — from The Structure of Parallel Cousin Marriage i learn that, in a society where fbd marriage is very common, your maternal first cousins wind up also being your paternal second cousins. (i tried to figure this out before, but it made my head spin.) this is because the family lineages in fbd marriage societies fold back in on themselves [pg. 22]:

“Since Bedouin society is based largely upon ties of kinship, each minimal-sized agnatic unit becomes virtually self contained and encysted. This can be shown in diagram B, which illustrates the convergence of father’s and mother’s lines in an ideal system of patrilateral parallel cousin marriage. Even the sporadic occurence of cross-cousin marriage fails to break the social isolation of the group. Diagram C shows a cross-cousin marriage within a system structured primarily by parallel cousin marriage; it can be seen that the cross cousins indicated are also second degree patrilateral parallel cousins, and we would venture to hypothesize that the Bedouin would interpret the relation in the latter way.”

“encysted.” good word. maybe one of these days i’ll diagram this.
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from Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, we learn that human trafficking operations out of the balkans (oh god — not the balkans again!) are typically extended family/clan operations … and their victims frequently members of rival clans [pgs. 121-22]:

Balkan traffickers operate within family groups. Therefore, although the organizations are controlled by men, there are cases in which operations in a particular country or region are controlled by female family members or by outsiders. For example, French police, through wiretaps, discovered that a sister of one of the French-based Balkan traffickers was operating a cell in Belgium. As the previous chapter pointed out, Balkan criminals maintain control across several neighboring countries. Belgian and Dutch women, as mentioned in Chapter 3, have been hired by Balkan clans to help run day-to-day operations because they arouse less police suspicion.”

and from earlier in this section:

“Female victims were often those whose families had died or women seized as part of blood revenge by one family against another.”

which brings me back to some of the points i made in this post.

aren’t people wonderful?
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(note: comments do not require an email. something cheery!)

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

(note: comments do not require an email. my favorite serbian thing!)

the philippine government has just signed a peace agreement with some of the muslim rebels — the moro islamic liberation front or (heh) milf (think someone should tell them?) — from the island of mindanao. which is good news, of course — if the peace holds. however, most of the people on mindanao are, apparently, not as worried about the sectarian violence on the island as they are about “rido”:

Rido, or feuding between families and clans, is a type of conflict centered in the Philippine region of Mindanao, and is characterized by sporadic outbursts of retaliatory violence between families and kinship groups, as well as between communities. … ‘Rido’ is a Maranao term commonly used in Mindanao to refer to clan feuds. It is considered one of the major problems in Mindanao because apart from numerous casualties, rido has caused destruction of property, crippled the local economy, and displaced families….

“There is a widely held stereotype that the violence is perpetrated by armed groups that resort to terrorism to further their political goals, but the actual situation is far more complex. While the Muslim-Christian conflict and the state-rebel conflicts dominate popular perceptions and media attention, a survey commissioned by The Asia Foundation in 2002 and further verified by a recent Social Weather Stations survey revealed that citizens are more concerned about the prevalence of rido and its negative impact on their communities than the conflict between the state and rebel groups….

“Studies on rido have documented a total of 1,266 rido cases between the 1930s and 2005, which have killed over 5,500 people and displaced thousands. The four provinces with the highest numbers of rido incidences are: Lanao del Sur (377), Maguindanao (218), Lanao del Norte (164), and Sulu (145). Incidences in these four provinces account for 71% of the total documented cases. The findings also show a steady rise in rido conflicts in the eleven provinces surveyed from the 1980s to 2004. According to the studies, during 2002-2004, 50% (637 cases) of total rido incidences occurred, equaling about 127 new rido cases per year. Out of the total number of rido cases documented, 64% remain unresolved….”

the population of mindanao is comprised of the moro peoples, some of whom are muslim, but others of whom are christians — but members of BOTH religions engage in rido, so this fighting between clans is not just a muslim thing.

mindanao is a very mountainous island, so if westermeyer is right, we should expect to find a lot of inbreeding amongst the moro (which could account for all the clannishness).

those moro folks that are roman catholic ought not to be marrying first cousins, of course, but who knows (i don’t) if they marry second or third cousins. in fact, nobody nowadays in the philippines should be marrying first cousins because it’s against the law (“up to the fourth civil degree”), but…

“Philippine Muslims very seldom registered births or marriages with governmental agencies.” [pg. 213]

…perhaps to get around the marriage restrictions (given that islam kinda/sorta encourages first cousin marriage — in an indirect way since mohammed married one of his cousins).

i haven’t found any info on how much cousin marriage happens in the moro muslim (or christian) populations, but one of the leading moro muslim political families, the sinsuat family, is “remarkable for the frequency of cousin marriage” [pg. 309], so that might — might — be an indication that cousin marriage is, indeed, common on mindanao. i would bet it has a long history there, too — thus the clannishness.

and clannishness in the philippines doesn’t seem to be restricted to mindanao:

“The Philippine political arena, unlike other democracies, is mainly arranged and operated by families or alliances of families rather than political parties.”

hmmmmm. not very surpising, then, to find books about the philippines titled: An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.

previously: this one’s for g.w. and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

(note: comments do not require an email. the philippine, or monkey-eating, eagle.)

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

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“A man has a right to defend his family.”William Anderson ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield [Albion's Seed]

that’s ‘devil anse’ there in the second row — sitting down, second from the left, long beard and shotgun in his hand.

i haven’t seen the show (yet) about america’s most famous family feud in which something like eleven people were killed — i count 9 to 2 with the hatfields in the lead (i.e. nine mccoys dead and only two hatfields) — but judging from the traffic over the last two days, a lot of people have!

the mccoys are/were scotch-irish and hatfield is an anglo-saxon name, probably from up yorkshire way. in Albion’s Seed, david hackett fischer describes how the settlers of appalachia were scotch-irish, or came from the border areas between england and scotland, and all had a unique culture with a long history based on extended families and clans and traditions of cattle raiding and battles between clans, traditions that they brought to the united states with them. from Albion’s Seed [links added by me]:

“Backcountry Family Ways: Border Ideas of Clan and Kin

“From the perspective of an individual within this culture, the structure of the family tended to be a set of concentric rings, in which the outermost circles were thicker and stronger than among other English-speaking people. Beyond the nuclear core, beyond even the extended circle, there were two rings which were unique to this culture. One was called the derbfine. It encompassed all kin within the span of four generations. For many centuries, the laws of North Britain and Ireland had recognized the derbfine as a unit which defined the descent of property and power. It not only connected one nuclear family to another, but also joined one generation to the next.

“Beyond the derbfine lay a larger ring of kinship which was called the clan in North Britain. We think of clans today mainly in connection with the Scottish Highlands. But they also existed in the lowlands, northern Ireland and England’s border counties where they were a highly effective adaptation to a world of violence and chronic insecurity.

“The clans of the border were not precisely the same as those of the Scottish Highlands, and very different from the Victorian contrivances of our own time. They had no formal councils, tartans, sporrans, bonnets or septs. But they were clannish in the most fundamental sense: a group of related families who lived near to one another, were conscious of a common identity, carried the same surname, claimed descent from common ancestors and banded together when danger threatened.

“Some of these border clans were very formidable. The Armstrongs, one of the largest clans on the Cumbrian border in the sixteenth century, were reputed to be able to field 3,000 mounted men, and were much feared by their neighbors. The Grahams held thirteen towers on the western border in 1552, and bid defiance to their foes. The Rutherfords and Halls were so violent that royal officials in 1598 ordered no quarter to be given to anyone of those names. The Johnston-Johnson clan adorned their houses with the flayed skins of their enemies the Maxwells in a blood feud that continued for many generations.

“These North British border clans tended to settle together in the American backcountry….”
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i posted previously on how the border clans probably praciticed some form of inbreeding or endogamous mating (like the irish perhaps) and that that’s why they were clannish in nature. hackett fischer backs me up on that with an example from northern england — and inbreeding/endogamous mating certainly happened in appalachia:

In many cases the husband and wife both came from the same clan. In the Cumbrian parish of Hawkshead, for example, both the bride and groom bore the same last names in 25 percent of all marriages from 1568 to 1704. Marriages in the backcountry, like those on the borders, also occurred very frequently between kin….

“These clans fostered an exceptionally strong sense of loyalty, which a modern sociologist has called ‘amoral familism,’ from the ethical perspective of his own historical moment. In its own time and place, it was not amoral at all, but a moral order of another kind, which recognized a special sense of obligation to kin. That imperative was a way of dealing with a world where violence and disorder were endemic. Long after it had lost its reason for being, family loyalty retained its power in the American backcountry.

“An example was the persistence of the family feud, which continued for many centuries in the southern highlands. These feuds flowed from the fact that families in the borderlands and back-country were given moral properties which belonged mainly to individuals in other English-speaking cultures. Chief among them were the attributes of honor and shame. When one man forfeited honor in the backcountry, the entire clan was diminished by his loss. When one woman was seduced and abandoned, all her ‘menfolk’ shared the humiliation. The feuds of the border and the backcountry rose mainly from this fact. When ‘Devil Anse’ Hatfield was asked to explain why he had murdered so many McCoys, he answered simply, ‘A man has a right to defend his family.’ And when he spoke of his family, he meant all Hatfields and their kin. This backcountry folkway was strikingly similar to the customs of the borderers.

“Historians of a materialist persuasion have suggested that the feud was a modern invention in the southern highlands. One has called it a ‘response to industrialism.’ Another has interpreted it as the product of changes in the means of production. These modern processes would indeed provide many occasions for feuds. But they were not the cause of the feuding itself, which had deeper cultural roots. Other historians have argued that southern feuds were mainly a legacy of the Civil War. But feuds occurred in the backcountry before 1861. They were part of the brutal violence of the American Revolution in the backcountry. Strong continuities in family feuding may be traced from the borders of North Britain to the American backcountry — a pattern that persisted throughout the southern highlands even into the twentieth century.
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people become clannish or tribal when they marry/mate closely repeatedly over generations. if you want to understand, and perhaps get rid of, clans and family feuds and killings in the name of family honor, then you have to understand/get rid of the close marriages.

an interesting note about the mccoy clan (via wikipedia):

“Hatfield-McCoy feud blamed on ‘rage’ disease

“Rare, genetic condition may have fueled violent tempers across generations

“The most infamous feud in American folklore, the long-running battle between the Hatfields and McCoys, may be partly explained by a rare, inherited disease that can lead to hair-trigger rage and violent outbursts.

“Dozens of McCoy descendants apparently have the disease, which causes high blood pressure, racing hearts, severe headaches and too much adrenaline and other ‘fight or flight’ stress hormones.

“No one blames the whole feud on this, but doctors say it could help explain some of the clan’s notorious behavior….

“Von Hippel-Lindau disease, which afflicts many family members, can cause tumors in the eyes, ears, pancreas, kidney, brain and spine. Roughly three-fourths of the affected McCoys have pheochromocytomas — tumors of the adrenal gland.

“The small, bubbly-looking orange adrenal gland sits atop each kidney and makes adrenaline and substances called catecholamines. Too much can cause high blood pressure, pounding headaches, heart palpitations, facial flushing, nausea and vomiting. There is no cure for the disease, but removing the tumors before they turn cancerous can improve survival.

“Affected family members have long been known to be combative, even with their kin. Reynolds recalled her grandfather, ‘Smallwood’ McCoy.

“‘When he would come to visit, everyone would run and hide. They acted like they were scared to death of him. He had a really bad temper,’ she said….”

previously: “culture” of honor and traditional family systems in medieval britain and ireland and start here

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i like to keep an eye out for clan/tribal stories on google news. here are some of the more fun ones i came across lately:

Tunisian clan fighting injures 18
May 14, 2012

TUNIS: Violent clashes between rival clans in Tunisia have left 18 people injured, one of them seriously, the TAP agency reported on Monday.

The clashes occurred Sunday night and Monday morning in the Feriana region in the centre-west of the north African country and erupted over a dispute over iron trafficking from neighbouring Algeria, according to the interior ministry.

Police and the army intervened to stop the fighting, it said.

Violent, sometimes deadly clan clashes are common in areas of Tunisia bordering Libya in the east and Algeria in the west where trafficking of arms and other goods is common.

tunisia is full of mostly berbery-araby people, so these aren’t any crazy tuaregs or anything. these are just some of your typical tunisians behaving in a typically clannish way. tunisians marry their cousins, of course — 2009 consanguinity rate=24.8%.

meanwhile: Tunisian ex-ruling clan member loses fight for Canadian residency, seeks refugee status
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Over 150 Families in Ingushetia Give Up Vendetta – Leader
13/05/2012

A special reconciliation commission in Ingushetia has prevented vendetta conflicts between 150 families over 42 months, the leader of the Russian Islam-dominated republic in the Caucasus said on Sunday.

At a meeting with religious and public figures in the capital Magas, Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov praised the efforts of the commission set up at his initiative to resolve disputed issues and conflicts between Ingush families and consolidate society.

“Thanks to the mercy of the Almighty and the shared efforts of the commission and the PR department of the republic’s administration, we have settled a vast number of conflicts between teips [clans],” he said. “We have reconciled over 150 vendetta families.”

He also paid tribute to the council of teips and proposed involving female public organizations in the process.

traditionally, the ingush married outside the clan but within the (broader) tribe (see also here) — dunno how much they’re still doing that nowadays — so that’s a rather endogamous but not an inbred mating pattern. they’re not marrying their father’s brother’s daughters.
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Bo Xilai’s Clan Links
April 23, 2012

Extended family members of Bo, then commerce minister and now ousted Chongqing Communist Party boss, have also had positions in such firms as alternative-energy company China Everbright International Ltd. (257), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

While the accumulation of influence is commonplace among relatives of politicians worldwide, the Bo family fortune of at least $136 million may fuel perceptions of corruption in the Communist Party and deepen social tensions over China’s widening wealth gap. The party has sought to cordon off from politics the investigations of Bo and his second wife, arrested on suspicion of murder, with an official commentary stating that the inquiry is solely a matter of law.

“The danger for them, the Chinese, is that the whole of the Politburo and their Central Committee colleagues will be exposed as a new property-owning class,” said Roderick MacFarquhar, a Harvard University professor who focuses on Chinese politics. “It’s already got out of hand. The problem for the regime is that it is now out in the public sphere….”

to be honest, i couldn’t figure out who all the bo-extended-family members were that were mentioned in this article: there are sons and brothers and second wives and i don’t know who. maybe one evening i’ll sit down and try to work it out. bo xilai, though, is one of today’s “princelings” of china. and we know that for literally millennia the chinese have been cousin-marrying/marrying endogamously, and that they still have a clannish society today, so it’s not very surprising to find out that the extended families of communist party leaders in china are reaping the benefits of such a connection in very big ways.

and some more news on chinese clans:

Hainan clan elections set to be heated affair
May 17, 2012

Sparks look set to fly this weekend, as two long-time arch rivals go head-to-head in the Hainanese clan association elections….

chinese clan associations, or kongsi, are: “…benevolent organizations of popular origin found among overseas Chinese communities for individuals with the same surname. This type of social practice arose, it is held, several centuries ago in China…. In the Chinese spirit, derived in large part from Confucian ideals, these kongsi members or their descendants prefer not to boast so much of their wealth but to take pride in earning worldly and financial success through their work ethic and the combined efforts of many individuals devoted to group welfare.”
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Jaafar Clan Kidnaps Syrian Opposition Members in Retaliation to their Abduction of Family Member

Members of the Free Syrian Army abducted overnight two Lebanese citizens and a Syrian national, reported Voice of Lebanon radio on Saturday.

Khodr Hussein Jaafar, Ahmed Medlij, and Syrian Abdullah al-Zein were kidnapped for their alleged role in persecuting Syrian opposition members in Syria, reported the daily al-Mustaqbal on Saturday.

The Jaafar clan retaliated by abducting some 50 members of the opposition in the Syrian border towns of Zeita and al-Burhaniyeh, it added….

seems like everyone has since been released.

clans know no boundaries. sounds like the jaafar clan knows how to take care of business. clans/tribes and cousin marriage are important in syria — and in neighboring lebanon, too.

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