more on inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior

remember this?:

those are a couple of graphs from wade and breden from when they did some mathematical modelling of the selection for “genes for altruism” under different circumstances (see previous post for more details).

the interesting graph is the bottom one which shows what the frequency of “genes for altruism” in a population would be IF selection was strong and IF the alleles in question were dominant. the gene frequencies are on the y-axis (at 1.0 the genes have reached fixation). the number of generations to get to the various gene frequencies is on the x-axis.

the interesting line on the graph for us is the solid line: those are individuals who are about two-times more related to one another than first-cousins in a randomnly mating population. that’s an exaggeration for most human populations, but it’s the most human-like of all the mating patterns they considered. the others are cloning, sib-mating (ewww!), and total outbreeding. so most human populations would be lower than that solid line, but not flatlining like the total outbreeding example. somewhere in between.

anyway. in my previous post i pointed out that after just 50 generations, there is already an increase in the frequency of “genes for altruism” in the solid line population. however, these models start at zero! in other words, the starting point they’re thinking of is if the populations start off with no “genes for altruism” at all. but that can hardly have ever been the case for any human population since altruistic behaviors are found in almost every living being on the planet!: plants, insects … even slime molds! not to mention our closest cousins, other primates.

so the baseline for the frequency of “genes for altruism” in any human population was probably never zero. who knows where it should be? 30%? 40%? 50%? 80%? i really don’t know. but not zero, anyway.

if we just say it was 50% — just picking an example right out of the hat — then the frequency of “genes for altruism” in the inbreeding solid line population increases much more sharply (i.e. the slope of the line is more slopey) over fifty generations than if we start the population off at zero. (look at the solid line between 0 and 50 generations versus 200 and 250 generations. there’s a much sharper increase in the latter group.)

i’m picking out 50 generation timespans, btw, because — at a very conservative estimate (1 generation=25 years) — arabs have been very closely inbreeding for ca. 56 generations (i.e. since at least mohammed’s days and most likely before).

anyway. that is all. (^_^)

previously: inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior

update 05/30: see also inbreeding and the evolution of altruistic behavior ii

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

jayman’s big summary

don’t miss jayman’s thorough summary of what we’ve been discussing around here over the past year or so (thanks, jayman!!). he’s also thrown in a couple of new ideas of his own that are real zingers, so check it out!:

An HBD Summary of the Foundations of Modern Civilization

(^_^)

historic mating patterns in poland

in case you have noticed, one of the ongoing projects around here is to compile any and all evidence (good evidence) for the historic mating patterns (going back as far as possible) for … heh … EVERYbody on earth! (^_^) should only take, oh, the rest of my days here on the planet. (~_^)

tonight: poland.

below are some notes taken from Marriage Strategies in Poland: Social and Spatial Differences (16th-18th Centuries) [opens pdf]. first, a few summary points:

– during this time period (1500s-1700s), marriages in the upper classes in the city of gdańsk on the baltic coast were arranged and clan relationships were taken into consideration by those making the arrangements. a lot of these people would’ve been immigrants from germany.

– in the city of warsaw in central poland between 1740-1779, most marriages occurred in the local community. since this is a city, however, some amount of the individuals (or their families) were probably immigrants from the countryside. dunno how many. ca. 3% of marriages were mixed catholic-protestant.

– in the town of toruń in north-central poland, marriages from outside the town were rare as well as was migration into the town.

– between 1641 and 1800 in the small town of brzeżany, which today is located in the ukraine, marriages were very local and migration into the town was rare. most marriages were between members of the same faith (catholic or greek orthodox).

– the peasants of upper silesia, which is in the center of poland, were usually stuck in feudal relationships, so their marriages were “territorially endogamic” — so probably biologically endogamic as well — and in many areas of upper silesia they became even more so during the time period (1500s-1700s).

so, most marriages in the 1500s-1700s in poland were local, but the populations themselves in towns and rural areas would’ve been more local than in larger urban areas.

here are some exerpts from the article:

gdańsk – city
“As Maria Bogucka points out, a marriage was in most cases the result of negotiations carried out by the relatives and friends rather than the most interested parties. The selection of the partner was based on the following principles: an equal social position, economic benefits and the advantages resulting from uniting the families. Beauty, individual preferences or feelings did not play an important role. It was not only economic matters, but also familial bonds, sentiments of the members of the older generation as well as the political and economic competition among clans that influenced the decision about a marriage, even if it was against the feelings of the prospective partners. Only among the poorest members of the society could one choose a partner more freely and often according to individual feelings.”

warsaw – city – 1740-1779
“Mixed marriages entered into in the parish of St. Cross were more frequent in the seventeen forties and fifties (3.0-3.1% of all marriages), with a decreasing tendency in the following decades…. [I]n the last fifteen years of the 18th century over 80% of the bridegrooms lived (were born?) in the parish of the future bride. It means that the marriages were made up within the local community.”

toruń – town
“Low mobility constitutes a very characteristic feature of the analysed population of Toruń. Marriages with either of the spouses coming from outside the town were rare. Migration from the country was also very small. With time, it resulted in an increase in the number of marriages between distant relatives. It could be the cause of genetic impoverishment of successive generations and in consequence a significantly lower resistance to diseases.”

brzeżany in the red russia province – very small town – 1641 – 1800
“The bride and bridegroom mostly came from the territory of the Roman Catholic parish of Brzeżany, some of them from an unknown location, and the rest from very distant places. According to the available public marriage registers (both Roman and Greek Catholic) 67.8% of men and 74.2% of women came from the Brzeżany parish, 20.2% of men and 21.5% of women from an unknown location, and 12% of men and 4.3% of women from outside the parish.

“The bride and the bridegroom usually came from the same place, where they also lived after the wedding, i.e. those living in a town also came from that town, those from a suburb lived in the same suburb, and of course those from a certain village lived in that village. Newcomers from other places were a minority. The migration from the country to the town in the analysed parish was very small.

“Marriage was generally contracted by people of the same religious persuasion. Of all the marriages between 1641 and 1800 that took place in the parish church, 96.3% were contracted by Roman Catholics, 3.5% by Greek Catholic men and Roman Catholic women, and 0.2% by Roman Catholic men and Greek Catholic women. In Greek Catholic parish marriage registers 99.9% of marriages were contracted by members of the Greek Catholic Church.”

upper silesia – peasants
“Marriage played a key role in the process of creation and functioning of peasant households. For the marriage of feudally dependent country folk a permission of the feudal landlord was required. The lack of such permission could result in a fine for the bride and the bridegroom along with the priest who celebrated the wedding….”

“In Silesia, if a marriage resulted in leaving the village and an extinction of the feudal relationship, a special contribution had to be paid to the landowner….

In parishes included in the studies almost all marriages could be described as territorially endogamic. Since the end of the 17th century we can observe a slight decrease in the number of marriages between partners form different parishes. For example, in Krapkowice parish at the end of the 17th century almost one third of men and one fifth of women came from outside the parish. But in the first half of the 18th century the number dropped to 19% and 10%, whereas in the second half to 25% and 13% respectively. In Krzanowo parish 43% were couples coming from the parish, 36% from the neighbouring territories, and one fifth from more distant places. In Ziemięciny at the turn of the 17th century over 80% of the newly married couples came from the parish, but at the end of the 18th century only about 60%.”
_____

if we go back to my previous post on poland for a sec, since we now know that polish peasants of this time period were generally marrying very endogamously, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that:

“[W]e find Galeski referring to the ‘strong ties of kinship among the families which make up the community.’ This is reinforced by the frequent intra-village marriages and results in the fact that ‘there are usually only a few family names in the village community. The village consists of several interrelated large families (or clans). For this reason, a village is sometimes defined as a family neighbour group….’

late medieval/early modern polish rural society, then, was clannish.

keep in mind that, according to roman catholic canon law during this time period, individuals closer than third cousins should not have been allowed to marry. who knows what enforcement was like, though. i think the same or a similar rule probably applied in the greek orthodox church at the time, but i don’t know for sure — there was probably some sort of ban on cousin marriage in any case. the german protestants in gdańsk? not sure. many protestant churches okay-ed cousin marriage after the reformation, but some did not. don’t know what the protestant churches in northern poland thought about cousin marriage at this time. further research is required. (~_^)
_____

szopeno, who has shared a lot of great info about marriage and the family in historic poland over the last couple of days (thanks, szopeno!), suggests two things that might’ve served to decrease inbreeding in poland during this time period: wars and zbiegostwo.

wrt wars, szopeno means that soldiers passing through regions would’ve left some of their genes behind in the population. absolutely! and, unfortunately, there certainly weren’t a shortage of wars in poland during these centuries. the only thing about wars, though, is that — not surprisingly — they tend to make people close ranks. for example, inbreeding (close cousin marriages) in italy increased following both world wars, so it’s hard to know what the total effects of a war(s) on a gene pool might be.

zbiegostwo refers to the practice of polish pesants voting againt cr*ppy feudal conditions with their feet, i.e. literally fleeing whatever situation they found themselves in. here’s a google translation from the encyklopedia wiem entry for zbiegostwo chłopów (“peasant flight” [maybe]):

“From the fifteenth century took on a mass scale, reaching the largest scale in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the continual growth in size of serfdom and limiting personal freedom of the peasants.”

where did these people go? did they wind up in other (hopefully better) feudal positions? they don’t seem to appear much in the marriage records of toruń or brzeżany or upper silesia (see above). maybe they wound up in big cities like warsaw. then the question is, how successful at mating and leaving progeny behind were the lower classes in late medieval/early modern urban center in poland? presumably not very, but i really don’t know. open question.

SOME of them are believed to have joined up with the cossacks! now there’s an alternative lifestyle for you. (~_^) no idea how many fleeing peasants wound up doing that.

dobranoc!

previously: traditional family systems in medieval and modern poland

(note: comments do not require an email. my favorite polish thing! great. now i’m hungry.)

“civicness” in germany and poland

in a post last year, i showed that eastern europeans score very low on “civicness” — i.e. membership in voluntary organizations — at least according to data from the world values survey, 2005-2008. out of the slavic nations, poland (and moldova) scored above the eastern european average, but still well below anglos:

szopeno suggests that this low civic spirit is related to the after effects of living under totalitarian communist regimes:

“In Poland, most of lawyers, doctors, enterpreneurs were executed by nazis, and the rest was killed/deported by soviets. In USSR for generations all those, who were individualistic were executed, escaped to the west etc…. Most never returned…. You have a generations of living in system, were everyone could be your enemy, when you couldn’t talk freely with strangers, when state was your enemy. This had profound effects on psychology….”

i think the first part there — a nation losing its best and brightest — will definitely have a negative effect on society, possibly for quite a few generations. but i don’t really buy that there would be long-lasting effects on a nation’s psyche (unless there are some sorts of epigenetic effects of living in stressful circumstances 24/7 for decades?). i think there’s something deeper going on wrt “civicness.” i have a hard time believing that it’s just a coincidence that regions as diverse as the arab world and eastern europe and spain and italy — all places with a long history of you-know-what — have low scores on civicness. i think there’s something biological going on.

szopeno also suggested that “civicness” might be different in eastern germany than in western since the population in the east was under a totalitarian regime for so long. so, i’ve taken a closer look at “civicness” in west and east germany and in poland.

what i’ve done is taken an average of the percentages replying “belong” (as opposed to “not mentioned”) for the following questions from the world values survey, 1999:

Please look carefully at the following list of voluntary organisations and activities and say…which, if any, do you belong to?

– Social welfare services for elderly, handicapped or deprived people
– Religious or church organisations
– Education, arts, music or cultural activities
– Labor unions
– Political parties or groups
– Local community action on issues like poverty, employment, housing, racial equality
– Third world development or human rights
– Conservation, environment, animal rights groups
– Professional associations
– Youth work (e.g. scouts, guides, youth clubs etc.)
– Sports or recreation
– Women’s groups
– Peace movement
– Voluntary organisations concerned with health
– Other

i’ve used the ’99 survey because it breaks down the responses by region, whereas the later surveys unfortunately do not. for germany and poland, the data are broken down by the sixteen german länder and the sixteen polish voivodeships. the questions are slightly different from the 2005-2008 wave, but some of them are the same. in my previous post, though, i considered “active” members; the 1999 wave options were basically just member or not member.

note that some of the sample sizes for some of the regions are rather small. i should’ve cleaned those out, but didn’t have (make!) the time right now, so consider this post a rough draft!

i’ve plotted the averages against the longitudes of each region (acquired from wikipedia’s geohack) with the idea that both outbreeding and the presence of medieval manorialism (which helped to break down clans and tribes in europe) have a longer history in western europe than in the east, and due to the spread of these practices from west to east across northern europe, i’d expect to find more “civicness” in western europe than in the east, perhaps moving along some sort of gradient from west to east. indeed, i found a negative correlation of 0.76 (-0.76) between membership in a voluntary organization (“civicness”) and longitude (west to east). here is a nifty chart of that (click on image for LARGER version) — the blue squares indicate german länder, the red squares indicate german länder that used to be a part of east germany, and the pink squares indicate polish voivodeships:

so, at least across germany-poland, there is a general west-to-east decrease in civicness.

however, when i checked for correlations between civicness and longitude within each of the countries, while i found a negative 0.66 (-0.66) correlation in germany, there was only a negative 0.39 (-0.39) correlation in poland. so, uncivicness seems to be present across the board in poland, but runs from west-to-east in germany.

hmmmm. those results — less civicness in east germany and across the board in poland — could back up szopeno’s idea of communism’s lingering effects on civic attitudes. maybe he’s right! otoh, manorialism and outbreeding reached eastern germany and poland comparatively late (late medieval period at the earliest for poland) and poland sits astride the hajnal line, so maybe i’m right! (^_^)

never fear! i’ll be looking more at mating patterns and family types in poland (and eastern europe) — and there are other sources on “civicness” in poland to be looked at — so stay tuned!

btw, that blue dot with the 1% (0.93%) average responding that they were members of some sort of voluntary organization? that’s hamburg. the number of samples was on the low side for hamburg, but if the survey results are at all correct, the only “odd” thing i can think of regarding the city is that it is a rather vibrant one. i suspect it might be the low numbers, though. the highest scorer — pretty much as far to the west as you can get in germany — was saarland with nearly one in ten saying that they belonged to some sort of voluntary organization.

and, oh. i also checked for any correlation between “civicness” and latitude. didn’t find anything in germany (-0.39) — but i got an almost perfect uncorrelation for poland (-0.01)! never saw such an uncorrelation before. cool! (^_^)

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii

(note: comments do not require an email. or a membersip in a voluntary organization.)

medieval russian mating patterns

following up on this post — mating patterns in medieval eastern europe — i thought i’d get more specific on the mating patterns of the medieval russians.

first of all, russians did not adopt christianity until 988 a.d., so that puts them something like 400 years behind western europeans with regard to cousin marriage proscriptions from any christian religious authorities. like the roman catholic church, the orthodox church in the east did ban different types of cousin marriages at different times, but the timing was different from that of the catholic church.

the first question is: did the pre-christian russians inbreed/marry endogamously?

in Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700, eve levin says [pgs. 136-37]:

“The Slavs abhorred incest long before the introduction of Christianity. Authors condemned outsiders, usually unjustly, for their incestuous customs. The traditional definition of incest, however seems to have been a sexual relation between members of a family living as a unit. In-laws were included, but not more distant relatives who did not share the same household, especially through the female line. Thus Slavic notions of propriety in matters of consanguinity did not coincide in all respects with the dictates of canon law.”

it’s likely, although debatable [pgs. 7-8], that the pre-christian russians lived in patrilineal extended family households (they certainly did at later points in time — see below — as did other slavs like the poles), so paternal first- and perhaps even second-cousin marriage probably didn’t occur given the pre-christian slavic ideas on incest, although this is just a guess on my part. cousin marriage with maternal cousins would not have been ruled out, though, and since it is the most common form of cousin marriage in the world, i wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the pre-christian russians practiced it. in any case, they likely practiced some form of endogamous marriage since nearly all peoples everywhere and at all times do/did. again, just a guess.

later in the medieval period we start to be on more solid ground with historical records and such.

1100s-1400s: Code of Jaroslav – bans on close incest (parents and children, siblings, etc.) but not on cousins specifically. just a vague ban on “marriage within the clan.” to me that doesn’t sound very different from the pre-christian slavic ideas on incest, i.e. avoiding whomever lives in the household, nuclear family members out to possibly paternal second cousins. so, perhaps, not much of a change in mating pattern from pre-christian russia right up to the 1400s. that’s another 400 years of in-marriage compared to all of the out-marrying northwestern europeans were doing. levin suggests (see below) that during this time russians did not the consider marriage of cousins to be incestuous.

end of 1400s/1500s+: first, second and third cousin marriages banned, both paternal and maternal. this is the restriction that western europeans had to follow for 700 years from the 1200s through the 1800s — some (northwestern europeans) did more than others — and western europeans had already had first and second cousin marriage banned starting in the 400s, and out to SIXTH cousins in the 1000s-1100s. this restriction may not have been seriously implemented in russia until the 1500s, though (see below).

i don’t know what the russian orthodox church’s regulations have been in more modern times — or what the regulations may have been in the soviet union or in russia today. if the russian orthodox church’s regulations are similar to the greek orthodox church, then there ought to be a ban on marrying first cousins. don’t know when this started for the greek church, or the russian one if that’s what they follow.

in any case, looking away from other sorts of endogamous matings, it seems as though the russians had a ban on consanguineous marriages (first and second cousin marriages) for just about 500 years, whereas (north)western europeans have had such a ban for almost 1600 years. that’s an 1100 year difference. if we calculate generations at 20 years, that’s a whopping 55 generations difference. whoa.

here are some more excerpts from levin [pgs. 137-39, 142-43]:

“Orthodox canon law recognized four types of consanguinity: by blood, by marriage, by adoption, and by spiritual bond. Slavic hierarchs recognized restrictions on intermarriage and extramarital intercourse for all four cases….

“Changes in Russian versions of canon law on incest coincided with changes in family structure. The proto-Slavic zadruga fell into disuse as a residential system in twelfth-to-fifteenth century Russia, although landholding continued to be communal. There the residential household usually consisted of a nuclear family, occasionally joined by an elderly parent or a young bride. The lists of peasant family units in wills of this period and the archaeology of aristocratic residences all point to the nuclear family as the dominant familial structure in this period. The rules on incest in the Code of Jaroslav reflect this familial arrangement. They prescribe fines for relations between parents and children or children’s spouses, brother and sisters, and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. More distant relatives are not named specifically, but are subsumed under the vague category of ‘marriage within the clan.’ This categorization implies that marriage was forbidden if a familial relationship was known to exist, but the exact degree of kinship was not an issue.

More extensive rules on incest appeared toward the end of the fifteenth century. Marriages between persons more closely related than fourth cousins were prohibited. If a union was contracted unknowingly between third cousins, it was allowed to stand only with great reluctance…. The reemergence of the extended family in late-fifteeth-century Russia made expanded incest regulations pertinent. Land cadasters, especially from Novgorod, reveal that peasants had switched to extended family living units akin to the South Slavic zadruga….

“According to most ecclesiastical authors, consanguinity up to the eighth degree [third cousins] precluded marriage, although some would permit a marriage between relatives in the seventh degree [second-cousins once removed, i think – h. chick], contracted unknowingly, to stand, albeit with a penance. Relationships through the male and the female lines were treated identically….

“Specific prohibitions on sexual intercourse between distant relatives by blood appeared only sporadically. Incest with cousins was more likely to be mentioned in Serbian penitential questions and trebnik nomokanony than in Russian or Bulgarian ones….

Russian codes earlier than the sixteenth century tended to omit specific regulations concerning illicit intercourse or marriage between second and third cousins, although descriptions of degrees of kinship forbade intermarriage between individuals so closely related. Apparently Russians from the eleventh century to the fifteenth century did not regard unions between cousins as incestuous. Even clerics who tended to be exacting in regard to the letter of the law, such as the Greek-born metropolitan Ioann II, had to make concessions to native attitudes. Ioann permitted marriage between third cousins, with a penance. The terms in which he outlawed marriage between second cousins make clear that such unions took place….

“Cousin marriages had a practical application: reconsolidation of ancestral lands. Because the Slavs practiced partible inheritance, the ancestral lands became fragmented after a few generations. While communal ownership by the zadruga mitigated the effects of partible inheritance for a time, eventually holdings became subdivided. When a daughter-heir could be married to her male cousin, the ancestral estate could be reconstituted, at least in part. That might have been the motivation in an instance of marriage between cousins in fifteenth-century Novgorod. Agrafena, an heiress of the boyar class, married her second cousin, Fedor Onkifovic. Together they possessed a large portion of the entailed estate of their common ancestor, but there were still other heirs, especially Agrafena’s sister’s son, who kept their shares separate. Incidentally, there is no evidence to suggest that the marriage was considered improper. Inheritance of landed property by daughters was a relatively unusual phenomenon among the medieval Slavs; it developed most fully in northwestern Russia in the fifteenth century. Consequently, there would not have been much community pressure on the church to reinterpret regulations on consanguinity to permit marriages between cousins.”

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe and traditional family systems in medieval and modern poland

(note: comments do not require an email. hbd day’s coming up!)

traditional family systems in medieval and modern poland

*update below*

i had a post up a few months ago about mating patterns in medieval eastern europe which i said at the time was just a preliminary view on that whole region of the world since eastern europe is a pretty big place and i want to look at the mating/family patterns for that whole region from at least the early medieval period up until today (*whew! – hbd chick wipes brow*). here goes another post on part of the region — poland — which, again, should just be viewed as an initial peek at what’s been going on mating-wise in that part of the world over the past several hundreds of years.

szopeno left a comment on the previous post the other day saying that the zadruga, which i had mentioned in the post, is/was mostly just a southern slav thing and not a western slavic institution.

sho’nuff, according to wikipedia, a zadruga is/was:

“[A] type of rural community historically common among South Slavs….

Originally, generally formed of one family or a clan of related families, the zadruga held its property, herds and money in common, with usually the oldest (patriarch) member ruling and making decisions for the family, though at times he would delegate this right at an old age to one of his sons….

The zadruga eventually went into decline beginning in the late 19th century, as the largest started to become unmanageable and broke into smaller zadrugas or formed villages. However, the zadruga system continues to color life in the Balkans; the typically intense concern for family found among South Slavs even today is partly due to centuries of living in the zadruga system. Many modern-day villages in the Balkans have their roots in a zadruga, a large number of them carrying the name of the one that founded them.

Villages and neighbourhoods that originated from zadrugas can often be recognized by the patronymic suffixes, such as -ivci, -evci, -ovci, -inci, -ci, -ane, -ene, etc., on their names.”

so that’s the southern slavs. what about the western ones? – in particular the poles?

in The Explanation of Ideology, emmanuel todd says that the traditional family system in poland was the egalitarian nuclear family (see map here) which is also found in parts of france and spain and southern italy. the characteristics of his egalitarian nuclear family include:

– no cohabitation of married children with their parents
– equality of brothers laid down by inheritance rules
– no marriage between the children of brothers

todd’s sources for poland, however, number only four. two of them are a census and a survey both from the 1970s. while those are interesting, they don’t tell us much about the (evolutionary) history of polish family- or mating-types. the third source [in french] relates to the 1700s, again fairly “recent,” especially given that todd claims to be talking about traditional family systems dating from 1500 to 1800 — i already discovered that he had some very late data for ireland — now it looks like todd’s kinda fudged the data for poland, too. anyway…

his final source is a book entitled Poland, Its People, Its Society, Its Culture [pg. 348]:

“The Polish family is characterized by marked internal strain and attenuation of family ties which are the final product of a long process of disintegration. Before Poland’s partition in the late eighteenth century the family was given cohesion by an ideal of family solidaritary extending to a large number of relatives by blood and marriage. The ideal, which is still held by all strata of the population [this was published in 1958 – h. chick], stressed the feeling of belonging to the family group, the integration of activities of family members to obtain common objectives, the utilization of family resources for needy members, and the maintenance of continuity between the parental family and new family units. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, family ties had become so attenuated that the ideal was rarely attained except by upper-class and intelligensia families. The nuclear family of husband, wife, and children, rather than the extended family (which includes many other relatives), became the norm among all social groups.”

so the nuclear family is relatively new in poland — the first partition of poland was in 1772, so 1770s until 2010s that’s ca. twelve conservative generations (a generation equalling twenty years).

in the medieval period in poland, community families were the thing. from East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500, Volume 3 [pg. 85]:

“A common residential pattern in the villages of medieval East Central Europe was an extended family of some kind. Nuclear families were not unknown, but the larger kinship group offered greater economic security in an uncertain environment, since its members could help one another. In Poland the so-called large family typically included three generations of men with their wives and children. The entire family worked the land together under the direction of the father or grandfather, and constituted the basic unit of social life.”

i don’t know if that qualifies as a zadruga, but the poles were definitely living in communal family arrangements in the middle ages.

here’s more from alan macfarlane [pgs. 18, 24-25, 31-32]:

“The central feature of traditional East European peasantry was that ownership was not individualized. It was not the single individual who exclusively owned the productive resources, but rather the household…. Galeski writes about the Polish family farm that ‘the children are both the heirs of, and workers on, the farm. As heirs they are also co-owners.’ ‘The farm is handed down from generation to generation, while the family — the successive usufructuries — carries a responsibility to its own children (and to village opinion) for the property in its charge….’

“[O]n the whole peasant societies are geographically relatively immobile. In the context of Poland, for example, this is taken for granted, our authors only alluding to it in asides. Thomas and Znaniecki suggest that one reason for the absence of romantic love is that it is psychologically impossible because ‘in most cases … all the possible partners are known from childhood.’ Galeski refers to the ‘marked spatial stability’ of the inhabitants of villages, stating that it is ‘a characteristic of the village community that the persons living in it are connected primarily by social, but also by territorial origin. They were usually born in the village or in a neighbouring village….’ The idea that people should spend their lives in half a dozen villages, or move from village to town and then back to the village is largely absent. Most of those who live in a community pass through all the major phases of their life in one area among a group of people they know from cradle to grave. Many of those around them are neighbours, but many are also kin, for one consequence of limited geographical immobility and an association between land and family is that territories fill up with kin….

[W]e find Galeski referring to the ‘strong ties of kinship among the families which make up the community.’ This is reinforced by the frequent intra-village marriages and results in the fact that ‘there are usually only a few family names in the village community. The village consists of several interrelated large families (or clans). For this reason, a village is sometimes defined as a family neighbour group….’

“Shanin [who was writing about russian peasants – h. chick] observes that ‘the village community operates to a great extent as an autonomous society….’ This author speaks in many places of this community-based society, of the hostility to ousiders, the satisfaction of all wants within the community, and other features. The same phenomenon is noted by Galeski for Poland, where he argues that the local community acts as the central economic, ritual, cultural and social control unit: the ‘village community is a primary group. Relationships among the inhabitants are based on personal contacts.’ The result of this is that a peasant society is made up of a host of largely identical, but mutually antagonistic and bounded territorial groups…. Although it is clear that peasant societies will vary in strength of community boundaries, it appears to be generally true that such nations could be called ‘particularist’ rather than ‘universalist.‘”

so, from around 1000 to 1500, poles were mostly living in community family groups. i’m not sure what happened after 1500, but it sounds as though extended families and strong family ties lasted well up and probably into the 1800s.

what i don’t know is what the mating patterns of poles were historically. did they marry cousins? the russians did from time to time, but hey — that’s the russians. the poles became roman catholics in 966, so they ought to have followed all the church’s bans on cousin marriages. but being catholic and marrying cousins never bothered the irish much and, of course, dispensations have often been available (southern italians have very frequently married their cousins up until quite recently). from galeski we learn that, at the very least, marriage was pretty endogamous amongst polish peasants. sounds like the poles are more like the greeks than the english or the medieval rural northern italians.

macfarlane quotes galeski as saying:

“Relationships among the inhabitants are based on personal contacts.”

well, not just personal contacts but genetic relatedness. most of a polish peasant’s relationship were with immediate family, extended family, or distant family. as macfarlane said, territories pretty quickly fill up with kin.

update 04/18: i don’t have access to this dissertation, but it looks like a good deal of medieval poles paid little heed to the church’s regulations on marriage. not surprising. several other medieval (and modern!) european societies did the same (egs. the italians, the irish).

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe

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no surprises here

Big gap between races in U.S. on Trayvon Martin killing

Americans are deeply divided by race over the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, with 91 percent of African-Americans saying he was unjustly killed, while just 35 percent of whites thought so, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Thursday.

Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics believe that Martin was unjustly killed six weeks ago, according to the online poll of 1,922 Americans, conducted Monday through Thursday….

The survey included 1,289 Caucasians, 219 African-Americans and 267 Hispanics. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval and this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for all respondents….

The poll also showed a stark racial divide between whites and blacks over whether heavy media coverage of the case had been appropriate. A total of 68 percent of blacks surveyed said they thought the amount of media coverage had been appropriate, while only 24 percent of whites thought it was right.

original poll results.

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