inbreeding in pakistan

you could write a book about it! you really could.

first of all, there are endogamous mating practices in all directions in pakistan: people marrying within their ethnic group (sindhi, balochi, punjabi); people marrying within their religion (muslim, sikh, christian); people marrying within their religious sect (sunni, shia); people marrying within their clan/tribe and/or caste (biradaris or zats or quoms) — like i could keep track of this all. *facepalm*

and then, of course, pakistanis are also endogamous within their extended families (or clans) and regularly marry cousins, fbd marriage being the preferred form (you’re not surprised, are you?).

i posted yesterday that one researcher found that pakistanis in britain had an endogamous marriages rate (that included marriages ranging from first-cousins to simply within the same biradari or patrilineage) of 87%. the numbers are not all that different for pakistanis back in pakistan: one researcher (see below) found in 2004-05 that 90% of marriages in punjab and sindh were between blood relatives or members of the same biradari. that’s a LOT of endogamy.

there’s a lot of data out there on consanguineous marriages in pakistan. below are some snippets from just five different articles, including one on sikhs who appear to have a much lower cousin-marriage rate than pakistani muslims (we’ve seen this before). and, interestingly, the sikhs in the particular study cited below did not have any fbd marriage.

christians also have lower cousin-marriages rates than muslims; and hindus have very low rates as well. also, it appears that the number of consanguineous marriages has increased over the past generation or two. (same pattern for pakistanis in the u.k.) seems things are going from bad to worse.

this is really just the tip of the ice-berg, but here we go:

“Bleeding disorders in the tribe: result of consanguineous in breeding”

– study of one extended family, up to seven generations, in badin district, sindh, pub. 2010:

The recent ‘Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) has shown that two-thirds of marriages in Pakistan are consanguineous…. The studies by Hussain R et al on consanguineous marriages in Pakistan have show frequency of 58.7% in the Karachi survey and 62.7% in the DHS. 83.6% of consanguineous marriages in the Karachi survey and 80.4% in the DHS were between first cousins.”
_____

“Watta Satta: Exchange Marriage and Women’s Welfare in Rural Pakistan”

– 3,100 married women age 15-40 in households randomly sampled from 171 villages in punjab and sindh, 2004-05 (watta-satta is when two families exchange brides):

married same/neighboring village = 62%
married outside the tehsil (sub-district) = 20%

married blood relative = 77% (mostly paternal first-cousins)
married unrelated but within the same caste/patrilineage (zaat/biradari) = 13%

exogamous marriages = 10%

watta satta marriages = 43% [no wonder there are so many double-first-cousin marriages in pakistan.]
_____

“How frequent are consanguineous marriages?”

– interviews of families of all patients admitted to a pediatric department in a hospital in karachi, jan-dec 2001:

1C & 2C marriages = 72.7%
87% of the cousin marriages were between 1C.
85.7% had double consanguinity

consanguinity amongst maternal grandparents = 64.15%
1C = 77%; 2C = 22%

consanguinity amongst paternal grandparents = 60.3%
1C = 83%; 2C = 16.8%

sindhi = 42%
balochi = 33%
_____

“Community perceptions of reasons for preference for consanguineous marriages in Pakistan (1999)”

– four squatter settlements in karachi, 1995:

non-consanguineous = 43.2% – 47.4%
– muslims = 25.9% – 57.5%
– christians = 34.6% – 59.3%
– hindus = 7.9% – 14.8%

1C = 51.4% – 52.6%
– muslims = 63.4% – 81.4%
– christians = 16.8% – 28.3%
– hindus = 1.8% – 8.3%
_____

“Consanguineous Marriages in the Sikh Community of Swat, NWFP, Pakistan”

– sikhs in the northwest frontier province (nwfp), 1996:

consanguineous marriages (2C or closer) = 21%
marriages with more distant relatives = 29.4%

mzd, mbd and fzd marriages. no fbd marriage.

mzd = 7.7%
fzd = 6.3%
mbd = 6.3%
2C = 0.7%

“[H]usbands with higher education contract marriages with cousins more frequently than those males with lower education…. Cousin marriages have shown an increasing trend over the years.”

pukhtun (pashtun) vs. sikh marriages from swat:

1C = 25% vs. 20%
non-consanguineous = 75% vs. 80%
_____

see also: genealogical terminology

previously: anarchy in the u.k.

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open vs. closed societies

a little bit more from robin fox (links added by moi) [pg. 325-26]:

“What is closed in the Closed Society [as opposed to popper’s open society] is the future, because it is thought either to eternally repeat the present, or to recycle fixed ages, or to change in completely known and fixed ways. The Closed Society seeks to ignore, deny, and arrest, or to predict and hence totally control, social change. The Open Society accepts the unpredictable reality of change and deals with it. (The roots of this idea were there in Henri Bergson’s philosophy, and his ‘open morality’ and ‘closed moratlity’ — but that is another essay: see The Search for Society.)

“This contrast was present from the start in the great conflict between democratic Athens (potentially Open but with a heavy burden of Closed features) and tribal Sparta (completely and utterly Closed): the subject of Popper’s first volume (The Spell of Plato). Athens had passed consciously from a tribal society to a democratic city-state, which in turn morphed into a maritime empire. (Curiously, Popper, while making much of Solon and Pericles, does not mention the reforms of Cleisthenes, which were critical to the change. [yes, they were. – hbd chick] Athens struggled to maintain its democratic system, both against outside opponents and against inside forces. By becoming an empire it threatened its own democracy. [hmmmm – sounds familiar.]

The old order of tribal families, which Cleisthenes had tried to break down, hated democracy and conspired with Sparta, the archtypal closed tribal society, which just as consciously arrested change as Athens had embraced it. Many of the Athenian intellectuals took the pro-Spartan side. Plato, Popper’s nemesis, led the intellectural justification for a Spartan-style society in The Republic and The Laws. Plato’s relatives were active in the council of the Thirty Tyrants, who conspired with Sparta and led a reign of terror in Athens.

didn’t know that about plato.

previously: demokratia (in case you missed that link in the text. (~_^) )

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rough guide to inbreeding and outbreeding

this is obviously an over-simplification, but i wanted to outline some of the effects that inbreeding and outbreeding have on social behaviors. so, it’s way, waaaay over-simplified. it’s just me thinking out loud.

these are just a few of my favorite things i thought of off the top of my head. there’ve been many others discussed around here lately — like harmonious jim suggested that exogamy lead to humanism. i think that’s prolly pretty right. we wouldn’t have gotten here without strong exogamy anyway.

also, there ought to be more gradations here, but i didn’t bother right now — like somewhere in between “no inbreeding” (nuclear families) and “maternal-side inbreeding” (clans) there ought to be extended families — not completely outbred, but not as inbred as clan-based societies. (maternal-side inbreeding = mbd & mzd marriage; paternal-side inbreeding = fbd & fzd marriage.)

anyway — here is a rough guide to some of the apparent effects of inbreeding and outbreeding on social behaviors. do, please, suggest some more! (and/or take issue with these!):

(note: comments do not require an email. medieval squirrel.)

democracy and endogamous mating practices

this post is prompted by a (brief) discussion in the comments over @dennis’ place. anonymous objected to me saying that pre-christian (i.e. pre-outbreeding) europeans were not, amongst other things, democratic — germanic tribes had things, for instance, he says.

yes, a lot of societies have democratic elements to them — even hunter-gatherer bands, i do believe, generally operate according to a system in which everyone (at least all the men) gets to voice their opinion on which way the band should head tomorrow or something like that. but no other society ever developed a western-style, parliamentarian-type democratic system except for europeans. here’s robin fox on this curious phenomenon [pgs. 60-61]:

“Again in England, it was not until 1688, after a bitter civil-religious war and a period of hard totalitarianism, that we were able to set up a system whereby political factions would compete for votes and, most amazingly, the losers would vountarily cede power. [fox’s emphasis.] This transformation took a long time and hard practice with many missteps….

“But far from being a fact of human nature, this voluntary ceding of power after elections, this basic feature of liberal democracy, actually flies in the face of nature. It is self-evidently absurd. Our political opponents are always disreputable, and their accession to power will be the ruin of the country. Listen to the rhetoric of campaigns: it almost amounts to criminal malfeasance to allow the opponents to take over. Yet that is what we do after a mere counting of heads: cede control to the villains and incompetents.

“The cynic will say that the only reason we allow this to happen is because we know that in truth there is no real difference between political parties in these systems, and so we join in a conspiracy of the willing to take turn and turn about. Even so, this willingness that we take so for granted is an amazing and unusual and a fragile thing. Ajami quotes an Arab proverb, min al-qasr ila al-qabr: ‘from the palace to the grave.’ Once you have power, in the name of God and the good of the people, you keep it, and the voluntary relinquishment of power is simply seen as weakness or stupidity….

“And our Western democracies still struggle with nepotism, corruption, and cronyism, whose energetic persistence should tell us something…. How could we believe, then, that we could walk into a country like Iraq and do in a few months, or even a few years, or even several decades, what millennia had failed to evolve spontaneously? Because ‘the Iraqi People,’ like everyone else, ‘loved freedom’?”

earlier in this chapter, fox explains how, of course, there is no such thing as “the iraqi people,” but instead that there are lots of tribes in iraq who do not want to share power with other tribes, and certainly do not want the members of other tribes governing over them.

parapundit, waaaay back in 2002, wrote about how the inbreeding practices of middle easterners hampers the development of democracy in those regions. he referred to stanley kurtz’s writings on the matter (stanley kurtz, btw, is a very, very smart fellow and i recommend reading anything and everything by him and taking what he says very seriously) — here are just a couple: Marriage and the Terror War and Marriage and the Terror War, Part II. in that second essay, kurtz wrote:

“Once your subject is the social meaning and function of kinship, the Muslim world stands in stark contrast to every other society in the world — traditional or modern. This contrast, I argue, has everything to do with why Muslim societies have difficulty accommodating modernity, why Muslim immigrants resist assimilation, and why some Muslims are attacking us.

“The key ‘functional connection’ between Middle Eastern marriage practices (which are not religiously dictated, although they are sometimes justified in religious terms) and Islam itself would appear to be the creation and reinforcement of a pervasive cultural tendency to form in-groups with tightly monitored boundaries….

“If we want to change any of this, it will be impossible to restrict ourselves to the study of religious Islam. The ‘self-sealing’ character of Islam is part and parcel of a broader and more deeply rooted social pattern. And parallel-cousin marriage is more than just an interesting but minor illustration of that broader theme. If there’s a ‘self-sealing’ tendency in Muslim social life, cousin marriage is the velcro.

there’s no way a “self-sealing” society is going to adopt modern, liberal democracy (and why do we keep insisting that they do, anyway?). our modern, liberal democratic system requires an open society. it requires the “atomization” of individuals — i.e. that they are not joined at the hip to their extended family members or clans or tribes. it requires society to be corporate in nature [opens pdf] — and that requires outbreeding.

if stanley kurtz explained to all of us online that the muslim world would not become democratic over-night because of their endogamous, cousin-marriage practices, steve sailer explained the why.

in an essay published waaaay back in 2003, steve wrote:

“The biggest disadvantage [from inbreeding], however, may be political.

“Are Muslims, especially Arabs, so much more loyal to their families than to their nations because, due to countless generations of cousin marriages, they are so much more genealogically related to their families than Westerners are related to theirs? Frank Salter, a political scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany whose new book ‘Risky Transactions: Trust, Kinship, and Ethnicity’ takes a sociobiological look at the reason why Mafia families are indeed families, told me, ‘That’s my hunch; at least it’s bound to be a factor.’

One of the basic laws of modern evolutionary science, quantified by the great Oxford biologist William D. Hamilton in 1964 under the name ‘kin selection,’ is that the more close the genetic relationship between two people, the more likely they are to feel loyalty and altruism toward each other. Natural selection has molded us not just to try to propagate our own genes, but to help our relatives, who possess copies of some of our specific genes, to propagate their own.

Nepotism is thus biologically inspired. Hamilton explained that the level of nepotistic feeling generally depends upon degree of genetic similarity. You share half your personally variable genes with your children and siblings, but one quarter with your nephews/nieces and grandchildren, so your nepotistic urges will tend to be somewhat less toward them. You share one eighth of your genes with your first cousins, and one thirty-second with your second cousin, so your feelings of family loyalty tend to fall off quickly.

But not as quickly if you and your relatives are inbred. Then, you’ll be genealogically and related to your kin via multiple pathways. You will all be genetically more similar, so your normal family feelings will be multiplied. For example, your son-in-law might be also be the nephew you’ve cherished since his childhood, so you can lavish all the nepotistic altruism on him that in an outbred family would be split between your son-in-law and your nephew.

Unfortunately, nepotism is usually a zero sum game, so the flip side of being materially nicer toward your relatives would be that you’d have less resources left with which to be civil, or even just fair, toward non-kin. So, nepotistic corruption is rampant in countries such as Iraq, where Saddam has appointed members of his extended family from his hometown of Tikrit to many key positions in the national government.”

brilliant!

steve and stanley and parapundit were all talking about a particular sort of tribal society with a particular form of cousin marriage — father’s brother’s daughter marriage. this form of marriage has been practiced by the arabs since before mohammed arrived on the scene (iow, they have been inbreeding for a very long time). the arabs introduced it to iraq and other places like afghanistan and pakistan and libya in the 700s. the peoples in those places may, of course, have been inbreeding in other ways before their conversion to islam. in any event, they’ve all been inbreeding for many centuries, so liberal democracy is not going to come natural to any of these populations.

but, edogamous mating is endogamous mating, and inclusive fitness is inclusive fitness. what has to be remembered is that there are different degrees of inbreeding (uncle-niece, first-cousin, second-cousin, third-cousin … tenth-cousin, etc.) as well as different types (paternal and maternal being the basic division — paternal results in the “self sealing” societies kurtz described; maternal gets you more alliances with outside groups). while centuries of father’s brother’s daughter marriage results in strongly tribal societies in which liberal democracy doesn’t fit at all, even lesser degrees of endogamous mating don’t seem to be all that great for fostering democracy.

example: the greeks.

we’ve seen that greeks have been practicing endogamous mating for who knows how long (at least back into the mid-1800s, presumably since forever). they don’t marry their first-cousins since that is against the greek orthodox church’s regulations, and they tend to avoid second-cousin marriage. but they do marry very locally — within the same village or neighboring village — preferentially to a third-cousin. (of course, things are probably changing nowadays with moves to urban centers.) the result? the extended-family is very important to greeks — and those familial sentiments spill over into the larger society. nepotism and corruption are very common in greece. almost nobody pays any taxes if they can help it.

how about democracy? how well does does liberal democracy work in what’s considered the birth-place of demokratia? from the nyt:

In the last half-century, three main families have dominated Greek politics.

“The center-left Papandreous have produced three prime ministers: George; his powerful father, Andreas, who founded Pasok, the governing Socialist party; and Andreas’s centrist father, also named George.

“The previous prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis, is the nephew of Konstantinos Karamanlis, a four-time prime minister who founded the New Democracy Party and led Greece in 1974 after the fall of the seven-year military dictatorship.

“Mrs. Bakoyannis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a member of Parliament with New Democracy, are the children of former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who led New Democracy in the 1980s and early 1990s and who often sparred with Andreas Papandreou.

“‘These personalities’ — especially Andreas Papandreou and Konstantinos Karamanlis — ‘helped Greece’s development in recent decades as much as they obstructed it,’ said Dimitris Sotiropoulos, a political scientist who has written on post-junta politics in Greece.

“These governments helped rebuild a traumatized country, but they also hardened the system to serve their own cadres and supporters, Mr. Sotiropoulos said….

“Over the years, leaders from each of the families have promised to end corruption. Kostas Karamanlis, a cigar-smoking lawyer with a doctorate in international affairs from Tufts University in the United States, led New Democracy to victory in 2004 on the promise that he would make government transparent, efficient and clean. Five years later, he left politics in disgrace, after his scandal-ridden party lost to Mr. Papandreou and Pasok, who have also promised to stamp out corruption.”

uh … not a good sign that liberal democracy is working very well in your country when political dynasties keep dominating the scene. (er, oops. *ahem*)

but what about on the ground? how do the greeks decide for whom to vote? according to their consciences or according to family ties? well, kinda-sorta both. here’s an account of a sticky voting situation in some local politics in meganisi (featured previously in this post) which pitted one man’s (babis’) brother (stathis) against his father-in-law (petros m.) [pg. 128]:

“[S]ince kinship could not be discounted, Nikos and his family were quite literally placed in a genealogical double bind. The person in the most invidious position was of course Babis, who had to choose between his brother and his wife’s father. I do not know on what grounds he based his choice, though I suspect they were ones of political conviction. At all events, he opted for his father-in-law and quite decisively. But if Babis’s dilemma was resolved according to political convictions, this certainly did not prevent him from trying to further his cause through family connections. Indeed, he went the rounds of all his and Stathis’s relatives and advised them not to vote for his brother. In this he must have been quite successful, for, as Nikos later explained to me, though Stathis made a respectable showing, the votes he secured were all philika psiphismata (friendly votes) and not oikoyeneiaka psiphismata (family votes). In fact the family had ‘brought him down.’

“Needless to say, my host, Nikos, was himself caught up in these unfortunate events and, with the rest of the family, voted against his relative Stathis, and for his (more distant) relative, Petros M. The exception was Nikos’s wife, who voted for her brother Stathis, As Nikos explained, she could scarcely have done anything else — though, as he admitted, it did result in the embarassing oddity of a husband and wife voting differently. As for Nikos’s old mother, Stavroula, she simply voted for whom she was told — Petros M.

“Stathis himself was outraged by this family betrayal and went so far as to boycott Nikos’s kaphenio for several months. Nikos thus paid a price for his part in the family/antifamily pact — and it should be noted that the price itself was measurable in terms of the values of kinship: the loss of the patronage of his beloved kouniados [baptismal/marriage sponsor]. But the real interest of this episode lies in the fact that although it was clearly recognized that votes could be cast along family lines — hence Babis’s visiting of all his relatives; hence Nikos’s contrast between “friendly votes” and “family votes” — in the final analysis kinship was incapable of controlling the vote, and not because an appeal to kinship lacked persuasion or because individuals had their own political ideas, but because kinship itself [author’s emphasis] actually split the vote. Instead of providing the basis for corporate action, the very complexity and multiplicity of kinship connections meant that, politics aside, people’s loyalties were divided. Kinship could be appealed to; its weight could be thrown on the scales; but nothing resulted from it automatically. It might be expected that one would vote for a relative, but in the end one could only vote for the relative by whom one was most persuaded.”

so, close kinship did not entirely win the day — babis did not vote for his own brother, stathis, but rather for his father-in-law. however, babis and stathis’ sister, nikos’ wife, did vote for her brother. and although nikos didn’t vote for his brother-in-law, in voting for petros m. he was voting for a more distant relative.

but the expectation that family would vote for family was obviously there. stathis boycotted his brother-in-law’s establishment afterwards because he hadn’t voted for him. and the greeks have set phrases for distinguishing family votes (oikoyeneiaka psiphismata) from friendly votes (philika psiphismata)? well, that right there illustrates that liberal democracy is not working 100% in greece.

as the author describes it, all of the kinship ties in greece (from all of the inbreeding) means that corporate action is difficult. family looms large in greek politics — it is not a situation of community members voting for representatives — it is family members picking and choosing amongst family members to best represent — or to get them into a position from where they’ll be able to dole out favors to — other family members.

a lot of endogamy creates tribes, for which a liberal democratic system is anathema. but even a lesser amount of endogamy seems to throw up hindrances to liberal democracy as the members of such a population are more focused on getting the best for their extended families, or even clans, rather than on what is best for all. obviously, other hbd traits, like the average iq and average personality type of a population, play huge roles in all of this. genetic relatedness and the consequent inclusive fitness-related drives and behaviors that influence the patterns of social behaviors within a society are simply another layer of biological factors to be considered when trying to understand human actions.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

previously: “hard-won democracy” and cousin marriage conundrum addendum

update 11/25/11: see also the corporate nature of european societies and liberal democracy

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inbreeding in 18th and 19th century sweden

here’s a little more on inbreeding in sweden, again from this article: The Influence of Past Endogamy and Consanguinity on Genetic Disorders in Northern Sweden.

the researchers looked at parish record books to work out who married whom — and if and how they were related — in 18th and 19th century skellefteå which is right here:

the researchers assure us that, despite being a hair’s breadth away from the arctic cirle, skellefteå was not (is not!) a completely off piste locale and traded regularly with stockholm, etc., etc. so, skellefteå should not be a too a-typical example of mating patterns in sweden at the time. (still, like steve sailer pointed about about sweden in general, skellefteå is not exactly a cross-roads sorta place like istanbul or sicily. so, apart from the swedes and maybe some finns and a few sami and drunken mooses, it prolly wasn’t a very cosmopolitan place in the 18th and 19th centuries.)

how much inbreeding did they do? well, i’m glad you asked! [pg. 551]:

“Of the 14,639 marriage records examined, 3,043 (20.8%) were between couples related as sixth cousins or closer (F ≥ 0.00006), with a mean coefficient of inbreeding (α) for the total study population of 0.00204. First cousin unions comprised 2.05% of all marriages, and unions between couples who were second cousins and third cousins accounted for 2.24% and 2.91% of marriages, respectively.”

those are the averages of first-, second- and third-cousin marriages over the whole time period from 1720-1899. here are the percentages of first- through third-cousin marriages for each of the time periods looked at (click on chart for LARGER version):

as you can see, the rates increase up to the middle of the nineteenth century and then sorta drop off a bit in the last couple of decades. we’ve seen the increase in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before in italy and spain, and increasing cousin marriage rates was, apparently, the general pattern for much of europe in the nineteenth century:

“Prior to industrialization an inbreeding pattern characterized by increasing values throughout the 19th century was common to many societies, both European (Calderón et al. 1993; Morales 1992; Pettener 1985) and American (Gradie et al. 1991; Madrigal and Ware 1997). In many European populations, inbreeding was highest in the period from 1875 to 1915 (O’Brien et al. 1988)….” [source]

so, sweden was pretty typical for its times in this regard.

how do the swedish cousin-marriage rates compare to other european countries during the same period? well, for england, we’ve got a first-cousin marriage rate of 2.25% for rural areas in 1876. sweden’s first-cousin marriage rate for about the same time (1860-1879) was 2.66%, so pretty much in the same ballpark.

again, these rates come nowhere near the rates for early-twentieth century southern italy where the first-cousin marriage rate hit 56.97% in reggio calabria between 1910 and 1914. northern italy, on the other hand, is more like sweden (and england) in the nineteenth century with rates like 2.28% in rovigo between 1910 and 1914.

the other country for which i’ve got data from the same time period is spain. (remember that these numbers are probably not representative for the whole of spain. gredos is a mountainous area and remote, mountain populations tend to have higher than average inbreeding rates.) here are the percentages for first- through third-cousin marriages in gredos, spain, in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries:

only the two first periods here sorta overlap with the last two periods of the swedish data:

spain — sweden
1874-1884 = 17.30% — 1860-1879 = 11.42%
1885-1894 = 16.62% — 1880-1889 = 10.06%

so, gredos, spain, had quite a bit more first- through third-cousin marriages in these decades than sweden — but, again, gredos might not be representative for the whole of spain.

overall, then, the swedes did not have very high inbreeding rates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. the cousin marriages rates for sweden during the period were comparable to those in england and probably also northern italy and perhaps even spain. remember, however, that the swedes do not have the same depth of outbreeding as other areas of northern europe. they may have had similar cousin marriage rates to other northern europeans in modern times, but they were likely marrying their cousins for longer during the early medieval period.

previously: inbreeding in sweden

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inbreeding in sweden

ok. moving northwards for a sec … sveeeeeden.

inbreeding (or outbreeding) in scandinavia in the dark ages? who knows? no written records, obviously, except for the odd runic inscription here and there. it’s probably a safe assumption to guess that the scandis were like the germanic tribes and did, indeed, practice some form of endogamous mating — likely some cousins, but who knows which ones and how frequently? we’re not even exactly sure what the marriage practices of the germanic tribes were like and we have some (late in the period) written laws from them.

there were norse clans, tho — ætts — kinda like the scots in the past or the chinese today, so that hints at endogamous mating practices:

The Scandinavian clan or ætt was a social group based on common descent or on the formal acceptance into the group at a þing. [T]he clan was the primary force of security in Norse society, as the clansmen were obliged by honour to avenge one another. The Norse clan was not tied to a certain territory in the same way as a Scottish clan, where the chief owned the territory. The land of the Scandinavian clan was owned by the individuals who had close neighbours from other clans. T he name of the clan was derived from that of its ancestor, often with the addition of an -ung or -ing ending.”

so, there you go.

christianity arrived relatively late way up north so that, while some of the german groups on the continent were already being told not to marry their second-cousins in the 500s, the swedes were still having battles between christians and pagans as late as the 1000s. presumably this meant that more swedes were following their old mating practices rather than the new-fangled christian ones until a much later date — as late as the 1100s maybe. so i would guess that the scandinavians do not have the depth of outbreeding that, say, the english and other north-west european populations have.

fast-forward to the reformation — most of the protestant churches in europe did not ban cousin marriage the way that the roman catholic church had done (and still does with first-cousin marriage). the new churches went with what the bible said, particularly leviticus — and the old testament, having been written by the ancient hebrews, was of course ok with cousin marriage.

the exception to this rule of protestant churches was the swedish luthern church which banned cousin marriage (i believe) right at the start of its foundation in the 1500s until 1680 when one could get a dispensation to marry a first-cousin (but see quote below). so, cousin marriage was, presumably, not practiced by the catholics in sweden and, then, also not practiced once the church there became luthern [pgs. 550 & 552-53]:

“Although strongly Protestant, the Lutheran Church in Sweden initially banned marriages between first cousins throughout the country, but from 1680 a dispensation for first cousin marriage could be granted by the King in Council. The expense involved was, however, a major disincentive and during this period first cousin marriages were rare and principally contracted among the nobility (Alstrom, 1958). After unsuccessful attempts in 1809 and 1823 to remove the requisite fee for first cousin marriage dispensation, it was reduced by the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) in 1829. Then, after another failed attempt at reform in 1841, in 1844 the Riksdag formally revoked the requirement for royal dispensation, leaving first cousins free to marry should they so desire. The history of consanguineous marriage within Sweden can therefore be conveniently sub-divided into three separate time periods: pre-1680, 1680–1843, and 1844 onwards….


“Prior to the introduction of royal dispensation in 1680, first cousin marriages were very rare in Sweden, since they were not sanctioned by the Lutheran Church (Alstrom, 1958). Thereafter, the prevalence increased nationally to an estimated 0.2% in 1750, 1.0% in 1800 and 1.5% by the mid-19th century. This study also reported a distinct north-south cline, with the highest rates of consanguinity in the more sparsely populated northern regions abutting Finland, that are home to most of the Swedish Saami (Lapp) community. Investigations during the first half of the 20th century, mainly based on first cousin marriages only, confirmed the continuing north-south cline of consanguinity (Fraccaro, 1958), with an upper prevalence of 6.8% first cousin unions in a remote northern parish (Book, 1948), compared to 1.7% and 1.3% first cousin marriages in southern and western rural regions of the country (Book & Mawe, 1955; Larson, 1956).

so, first-cousin marriage rates in sweden in more modern times:

1750 = 0.2%
1800 = 1.0%
mid-19th c = 1.5%
early-20th c = 1.3%-1.7% (western & southern sweden)

compare the early 20th century rates of sweden with the rates for first-cousin marriage in italy between 1910-1914: anywhere from 2.28% in northern italy to (mamma mia!) 56.97% in southern italy.

edit: also compare the mid-19th century rate of first-cousin marriage sweden — 1.5% — with the mid-19th century rate for consanguineous marriages (only first-cousin?) amongst protestants in alsace-lorraine — 0.186%. and, amongst catholics in alsace-lorraine — 0.997%.

of course, the swedes could very well having been marrying their second- and third-cousins (spoiler alert: they did), but it’s late now so i’ll take a look at that in another post (hopefully tomorrow).

previously: clientelism in greece and whatever happened to european tribes? and inbreeding amongst germanic tribes and more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and early medieval germans…again!

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clientelism in greece

it’s big there.

what the h*ck is clientelism, you ask? from wiki-p:

“Clientelism is a term used to describe a political system at the heart of which is an assyemtric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons and clients…. Those with access, the patrons (and/or sometimes sub-patrons or brokers) rely on the subordination and dependence of the clients. In return for receiving some benefits the clients should provide political support.”

in other words, normal chicago politics. (~_^)

i just got through reading a very interesting, but very amusing, article entitled: “Why Is There No Clientelism in Scandinavia? A Comparison of the Swedish and Greek Sequences of Development.” it was only amusing ’cause i could just picture all the sociologists throwing their hands up in the air trying to imagine why it could possibly be that there’s clientelism in one country and not in another. (~_^)

anyway. here are some interesting quotes from that article. basically, there’s clientelism in greece because (along with their average iq and typical behavioral traits) greeks are, as we’ve seen, pretty endogamous in their mating practices, marrying very locally, often preferentially third-cousins, and that has selected for strong inclusive fitness-related behaviors in greek society. i haven’t, yet, looked at mating patterns in sweden. maybe that will be tomorrow evening’s project. ok, here we go:

pg. 33:

“The Swedish language does not have an appropriate word for clientelism, and when journalists refer to clientelism in other countries, they usually have to add that this is a practice where politicians exchange favors for political support. Yet, on the whole, the practice of clientelism is relatively unknown in Sweden.


“Evidence from scientific research suggests that the Swedish bureaucracy works in a relatively universalistic manner.”

hmmmmmm. mysterious!

pg. 35:

“A detailed Greek historiographic study of work mobility of the urban poor reports, for instance, that about 80 percent of the time, people found jobs thanks to kinship networks and not to political intermediation (Pizanias 1993).”

pg. 38:

“In the Greek welfare administration, and in the public administration more generally, one does not find such a mixture; it is either remoteness or proximity. Access to familiarity inside the bureaucracy is possible only through personal, often family, networks; otherwise, Greeks face bureaucratic indifference to a degree unknown in Scandinavia. In other words, both friendliness and preferential treatment are assigned on a selective basis. This organizational culture results from the intertwining of kinship, or extended families, and bureaucracy.

pgs. 46-47:

“As Nikiforos Diamandouros (1984: 59) pointed out, in Greece the family has been the major social actor, which operated on multiple levels and fulfilled many economic, social, military, and political functions. When liberation weakened the position of the noblemen, with many of them losing large parts of their fortune during the war, they turned inward toward the family, the main ‘capital’ at their disposal at that time. With politics as an imperative for survival and kinship as the only existing organization device, extensive family coalitions were built using the quite widespread institutions of adoption, marriage, fraternization, and god-fatherhood (Petropulos 1985: 69-73).


“Initially these family coalitions were horizontal…. At the interstices between state and local communities, the system of family coalitions found fertile ground in which to develop vertically, creating hierarchies of families with quite unequal power resources, but also relations of mutual dependence. Families at the top of the hierarchy drew their power through their intertwining with the state and access to its goods, and those at the bottom through their capacity to aggregate and deliver the votes of their members. Just like the families at the bottom were dependent upon the families at the top for access to state goods, the families at the top could not secure their position without the political support of those at the bottom.”

this dependency between the top and the bottom — that’s clientelism. and it’s all (or mostly) family-based in greece.

pg. 48:

“As well as the families, villages [which, as we’ve seen, are really just very extended families] became units for interest aggregation in Greece. Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms, as they were in Sweden [long story]; rather, they were strengthened. At the same time, class division within the peasantry were weakened by the distribution of the cultivated land to all peasants, thereby creating a relatively homogenous village population with strong local identities…. Hence, in many parts of Greece, citizenship became relational and derivative, materializing through family networks and political parties and not as the effect of the direct integration of the people into the state….”

pg. 53:

“While in Sweden the realms of state, politics, and social life became differentiated with relatively clear-cut organization boundaries, in Greece these realms became partly overlapping and even intertwined with strong social ties. These same ties prevented the atomization of the individuals and the full development of categorical interests. They constituted the social ground for clientelism….

no atomization of individuals in greece because there is (and has been for some time) too much endogamous mating there and, therefore, individuals are strongly tied to their extended families rather than being rugged individuals. clientelism is simply the obvious way to go for the greeks.

update 10/07: regarding this quoted above: “Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms….” the agricultural or land reforms referred to happened when greece gained independence from the ottoman empire in 1835. land that had been a part of turkish-owned estates was redistributed to greek peasants. however, it was done in such a way that the peasants did not have to leave their natal villages (the story was very different in other part of europe, like sweden, where peasants were actually shifted around on the land). for the purposes of this blog, this means that the endogamous mating patterns of the greeks — marrying locally within the village or neighboring village — could go waaaaay back.

previously: ελλάδα and more on greece

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china today…

…a clannish society — at least in rural areas (no, i haven’t read any of these — just found the abstracts online):

Several Theoretical Problems Related to Current Studies of Chinese Rural Clans – pub. in Social Sciences in China, May 2000


Abstract: Alongside the modernization process in rural areas there has emerged a rational trend based on the original patriarchal structure of rural society. As social organizations, clans have a double role to play in current rural development. On the one hand, they are detrimental in terms of social stability, but, on the other, they try to encourage their members to adapt to existing social institutions and structures in order to ensure their continued survival. As a result of the inclusion of relations by marriage and fictitious kinship relations, modern clans are quite different from the traditional patriarchal clans in terms of both membership and structure. The authors focus on clans in everyday life, clans in relation to events, and the practical institutional innovations of clan members. Clans in northern rural areas are quite different from those in southern rural areas in terms of their organizational form, the form of their activities and their external features. Only by conducting investigations in a number of areas can we gain a general picture of the current situation of clans in China’s rural areas and the role they play in the modernization drive.

apparently, clans came back with a vengeance in china in the 1970s and 80s (or maybe they had never really gone away at all…):

Resurrection and Evolution of the Village Clan in Central Anhui-Province over the Past Thirty Years:With Paifang Village of Shanqi Town in Shucheng County for Example – pub. in Contemporary China History Studies, Jan 2009


Abstract: It is almost thirty years since the village clans resurrected in the late 1970s. Studies on the causes of their resurrection have been on the increase in the academic circles. Based on the investigation of the development and changes over the thirty years in Paifang Village, a mountainous village in Central Anhui Province, this article divides the resurrection and evolution of rural clans in this period into two stages: the stage of transient resurrection of traditional clan functions from the late 1970s to the middle of 1990s and the stage of changes in clan notions, behaviors and organizations from the middle of the 1990s onwards. We can see from the analyses of the features of the two stages that the negative effects of clans are only a temporary phenomenon and that with the appearance of networked clans, a new combination of clans, the phenomenon of clans will not be finally dissolved in the big tide of modernization.

Family Culture and Economic Construction in Chaoshan District – pub. in China Rural Survey, March 2003.


Abstract: Family culture has become an important non-institutional variable of local economy through the renaissance of family (lineage) organization in Chaoshan District, Guangdong Province since 1980s. Via investigation on the family organization of Zhangshi Wufang (the fifth branch of lineage Zhangshi), this article sums up the general features of family organization in Chaoshan District, which are regarded as cultural variables in the economic reconstruction in Chaoshao District. In response to the absence of market trust in Chaoshan District, this article analyzes it from a perspective of family culture and proposes the correspondent suggestions to deal with it.

Variation of Rural Clans and Adaptation to Modern Society — Taking the Hengtang People in Wuming County as an Example – pub. in Journal of Baise University (Journal of Youjiang Teachers College for Nationalities Guangxi) Jan. 2008.


Abstract: The transformation of the society in 1980s serves as a turning point of clan development. This paper presents a clan survey of Hengtang people who are a branch of Han Chinese Nationality in Wuming County and the finding is that the clansmen attach much importance to the development of clan culture though some traditional elements of modern clans are missing, which is considered as a variation based on the old clan shape and an attempt to suit the social changes.

not surprisingly, clans are a problem for the central government:

The Parasitic Relation between Clan and Villager’s Committee and Its Effeet on the Rural Rule of Law in Modern China – pub. in Journal of Hunan Public Security College, April 2003.


Abstract: Because the villager’s committee has played an important role in the management of the village under the system of country administration, it has been the most important and direct organization of power. Theoretically, it should be a main media by which the modern rule of law is introduced to the countryside. However, the findings of the analysis of the members and work content of the villager’s committee suggests that some villager’s committee, to a great degree, has became the parasitic carrier of some clans so that the rule of law has lost the last supporter and has fallen into a dilemma that it cannot be widely introduced to the countryside.

blood is thicker than water.

roman catholic church = 1, maoism = 0. (~_^)

see also: Ancestral home

previously: chinese kinship terms…

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