clans in the news

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

Over 150 Families in Ingushetia Give Up Vendetta – Leader

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.

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.”

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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civicness in the u.s. by sex

curt suggested that the apparent east-west divide in civicness in the u.s. has something to do with gender, i.e. more “selfish” techie guys on the west coast, more social chicks on the east coast. maybe. i’m digging around in the world values survey to see if i can find out.

first — civicness in the u.s. by sex. data taken from the 1995 and 2006 waves, the two years that americans were asked, “are you or are you not an active member of such-and-such a voluntary organization?” — or words to that effect (you can check out the exact questions on the world values survey site).

turns out, women are slightly more likely than the u.s. average to be active members of voluntary associations, while american men are slightly less likely than average to be so:

men score above average in being active members of: sports/recreation groups, political parties, professional organizations and labor unions.

women score above average in being active members of: well, put it this way — there are a LOT of church ladies! women are also above average in being active members of charities/humanitarian organizations, art/music/educational groups and environmental groups.

in the previous post on civicness in the u.s. by region, i only looked at the data from 1999. since then, i’ve discovered that the 2006 data is available by region, so i’m gonna go back and look at civicness by region in the u.s. again and look at the 1999 and 2006 waves together. the more data the better, right? then i’ll take a look at any differences between the genders between the different regions.

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii and civicness in the u.s. (by region) and civicness in the u.s. by race

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mating patterns in egypt

in family type in egypt, i hinted that inbreeding in egypt is greater in southern or upper egypt than in northern or lower egypt. now i’m going to show you the proof. PROOF i tell you! (^_^)

every few years, egypt conducts a demographic and health survey (so do a lot of other countries — thanks to us, i think). the egyptians, very thoughtfully, collect data on consanguineous mating patterns, i.e. first- and second-cousin marriages. here are the most recent egypt dhs surveys from 2000, 2005 and 2008 [all pdfs]. and here is a chart of the consanguineous (first- and second-cousin) marriage rates for four regions of egypt: urban governorates, lower egypt (delta) governorates, upper egypt (nile valley) governorates, and frontier (border regions) governorates (see list at bottom of post for which ones are which):

and here’s a map of those four regions:

the first thing you’ll notice is that egyptians marry their cousins a LOT. much more than americans or most europeans (esp. nw europeans). even in 2008, in cairo or alexandria nearly one in every four (23.2%) of all marriages were between people who were first- or second-cousins. and it was practically double that (41.2%) upriver in upper egypt. so, there’s a lot of cousin marriage in egypt — and much more in the south than in the north (told ya!)

the inbreeding rates have been decreasing over the last couple of decades, though. here is a chart of just the first-cousin marriage rates for pre-1991 (don’t ask me what that means – that’s all my source said), 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2008:

so, you know, just one generation ago, first-cousin marriage rates were twice as frequent in egypt as they are today. the decline is good news maybe, but keep in mind what the very recent high rates might mean for the frequencies and distribution of “genes for altruism” in the egyptian population. things don’t just change overnight.

father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage is pretty popular in egypt. in 2008, nearly ten percent of all marriages were between the children of two brothers. there’s more fbd marriage in rural areas than in urban areas:

in Family in Contemporary Egypt [available on questia], andrea rugh says that the shift away from marrying cousins by urbanites began “about a generation ago.” rugh’s work was published in 1984, so she’s talking about sometime in the ’60s or maybe late-’50s. that means that nowadays there’s a good two or three generations of urban egyptians — not the recently arrived ones from the countryside, but people whose families have lived in the cities for several or maybe scores(!) of generations — that are now relatively outbred, certainly compared to most other people in the country. from rugh [pg. 140]:

“Among the middle classes and élites there is evidence that relative marriage persisted as a common form until the present generation of young people [i.e. in 1984 – hbd chick]. Until the 1952 revolution and the extension of education to the masses of Egypt’s population, there was little to interfere with the family as a key socializing institution. Those who received private educations did so in carefully sex-segregated institutions, along with their sisters or brothers, cousins, and well-screened others of the same social classes. Leisuretime socializing took place in the family courtyards or apartments of relatives. Parents exerted much stronger controls over whom their children met than they do now. Middle-aged and older people of those classes almost universally comment on how restricted their access to the opposite sex was, beyond those individuals of the extended family group with whom almost their whole time was spent.

Family genealogies of these classes are filled with kin and sibling marriages up until about a generation ago when, in an impressive reversal, stranger marriages replaced them in the vast majority of cases. This phenomenon to a large extent reflects the changing degree of parental control among these social classes. Young people now have greater freedom of movement, rationalized as noted by the increasing importance of extended education. Controls now are vested less in overt mechanisms such as confinement and protection (seen in chaperonage and veiling) and more in internalized ‘nice-girl’ constructs (see Chapter 9) which individuals implement to a large extent by themselves.”


rugh also found [pgs. 143-45] that father’s brother’s daughter marriage was more common amongst the lower classes in rural areas than urban areas. amongst the lower classes in urban areas, fbd marriage was still the most common form of cousin marriage, but mother’s sister’s marriage was also quite popular.

how long have egyptians been marrying their cousins or otherwise inbreeding or marrying endogamously?

well, certainly fbd marriage was most probably introduced when islam arrived in the country, i.e. from sometime after the seventh century a.d. so that’s, at the max, a possible 1600 years of fbd marriage — an interesting, quirky twist in history since that’s just about the length of time nw europeans have been outbreeding.

were egyptians inbreeding before that? hard to say. it seems like a good guess ’cause most peoples in the world have tended to inbreed one way or another. from the third century a.d. until the arrival of islam, most egyptians had been christians. but afaik, none of the christian churches started with this whole cousin marriage ban thing until the roman catholic church did in the 400s.

the ethiopian coptic ban on cousin marriage out to sixth cousins originated from something written by an egyptian copt in 1240 a.d. is that when egyptian copts began to avoid cousin marriage? if so, then they seem to have missed out on the roman catholic church’s revisions of its regulations in 1215 a.d. which pushed the ban from sixth cousins back to just third cousins.

on the other hand, perhaps the copts didn’t like that reversal and so in 1240 decided to re-emphasize their already existing sixth cousin ban. it’s possible. don’t know. just a guess. the timing seems awfully coincidental otherwise: 1215 a.d. -> changes in roman catholic church’s marriage regulations removing the sixth cousin marriage ban; a few years later in 1240 a.d. -> written proscriptions against sixth cousin marriage by the coptic church. hmmmm.

speaking of copts, i read something, somewhere that said that egyptian copts, today, prefer second-cousin marriage to first-cousin marriage, but i’ll be d*mned if i can remember where i read that. can’t find that reference, so don’t believe me! (i don’t.)

and i know what you’re gonna say: way back when egyptians married their siblings (ewwww!) just like the pharohs. actually, they probably didn’t. but that’s material for another post. this one’s way too long already anyway. (^_^)

previously: family type in egypt and corporations and collectivities and aígyptos

update 05/13: sounds to me as though, by the eleventh century a.d., copts in egypt had adopted the practice of marrying their cousins from their muslim overlords. at the very least, the coptic church at this time does not seem to have had a ban on cousin marriage.

here from “Regulating sex – A brief survey of medieval Copto-Arabic canons” in Across the Religious Divide – Women, Property, and Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300-1800) [pgs. 29-30]:

“For Cyril [II] and Ibn Turayk, clergy are strictly forbidden from cohabiting with a woman, unless she falls under the category of one who is forbidden to him (muharrama). In his sixth canon, Cyril writes:

“‘It is not permitted to a bishop, or a priest, or deacon, or layman to live with a woman at all, unless it be a mother, or a sister, or a paternal aunt, or a maternal aunt who are forbidden to him. Whoever gainsay this, judgment for disobedience is necessary for him….’

“In the case of Cyril’s canon, it seems that no man (cleric or lay) should cohabit with a woman other than those ‘who are forbidden to him’ (tuharram ‘alayhi)….

“While there are parallels between both Cyril’s and Ibn Turayk’s canons and the Latern Council canon (which is actually a reference to a Nicene Council canon), there is also an important parallel between the Copto-Arabic canons and Islamic jurisprudential vocabulary. The Arabic words that Cyril and Ibn Turayk use to describe the category of forbidden women (Cyril uses form V’s tuharram a’layhi, and Ibn Turayk uses the plural passive participle muharramat) are borrowed from Islamic jurisprudence; the definition of this category may be understood from the Qur’anic verse found in Surat al-Nisa:

“‘Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father’s sisters, and your mother’s sisters, and your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in — but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) — and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past….'”

pope cyril ii was around from 1078-1092. his canon on which women were forbidden to men does not include any cousins, and it quite parallels what is written in the koran.

governorates breakdown:

urban governorates – cairo, alexandria, suez, port said.
lower egypt (delta) governorates – beheira, kafr el-sheikh, gharbia, monufia, damietta, dakahlia, sharqia, qalyubia, ismailia.
upper egypt (nile valley) governorates – giza, faiyum, beni suef, minya, asyut, sohag, qena, aswan.
frontier (border) governorates – matruh, new valley, north sinai, south sinai, red sea.

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civicness in the u.s. by race

following up on civicness in the u.s. by region, here is civicness in the u.s. by race.

the data are taken from the world values survey, 2005-2008 wave (2006 for the u.s.). note that these are people who claim that they are active members of voluntary organizations. here’s what i found (click on chart for LARGER view):

so totally, whites are a bit above average while blacks are a bit below average. hispanics, otoh, are quite a bit below average. the “others” (asians?) are in the lead, but note that the sample size for that group is rather small (n=62). (note that i also left out the “mixed race” category ’cause the sample size was way too small [n=14]. i also skipped the “other organization” category, again because the sample sizes were too small.)

african americans, then, are like their distant cousins back in africa — very civic-minded, civic here meaning inclined to join together in voluntary associations.

white americans score above average in joining: political parties, sports/recreation organizations, charities/humanitarian organizations, art/music/educational organizations, professional organizations and environmental organizations.

black americans score above average in joining: church/religious organizations (average), art/music/educational organizations and labor unions. the church/religious organization really seems to have pulled their total average up.

hispanic americans score above average in joining: church/religious organizations and labor unions, pretty much like they do back home.

previously: civic societies and civic societies ii and civicness in the u.s. (by region)

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family type in egypt

todd says the egyptian family type is his ‘endogamous community family’ type (by endogamous he means that the children of brothers marry):

– cohabitation of married sons with their parents
– equality between brothers established by inheritance rules
– frequent marriage between the children of brothers
– arab world, turkey, iran, afghanistan, pakistan, azerbaijan, turkmenistan, uzbekistan, tadzhikistan
– islam

from what i’ve read so far, that seems more-or-less right. one important point, though: the extended family seems to be more important the further south you go in egypt. the extended family is still important today in lower egypt, in and around cairo and the delta, but it’s really important in upper egypt to the point where one should really be talking in terms of clans and/or tribes — tribes especially with the nubians in the south and the bedouins in peripheral areas.

there’s a reason for this difference which i’ll talk more about in a follow up post, but you can already guess what it is: inbreeding/endogamous mating happens at much greater frequencies in southern egypt and in the frontier governorates than in the delta region. simple.

there are a couple of other exceptions to todd’s classification of the egyptian family type — the actual structures on the ground are not a perfect fit with todd’s description — for instance which members of the extended family tend to live in egyptian households seems to be more flexible than todd’s definition — but, still, i think he’s generally right. these are, indeed, endogamous community families.

here are some interesting excerpts from a couple of sources related to the importance of the extended family in egypt:

African Families at the Turn of the 21st Century (2006), pgs. 57-58:

“In urban and rural areas the importance of family for women and men remains central to their lives….

For most Egyptians some version of the extended family still plays a crucial role in their day-to-day existence. Contrary to modernization theory with respect to family development, extended families have not lost their appeal or importance. Most people attempt to live near their parents, siblings, cousins, or grandparents, should they still be alive, and maintain an active relationship with many of their relatives. It is important to note that extended family households which are often found in Egypt do not follow the traditional patterns in which geneaologically related persons of two generations live together or in which married siblings form one household. Rather, extended families are based on the incorporation of unmarried relatives into a family. Widows, divorcees (especially those with no children), and bachelors do not live separately and would be stigmatized should they make this choice. Further, unmarried sons or daughters live with their parents until marriage, irrespective of age. After divorce or the death of a spouse, both men and women, especially if they do not have children, are expected to return to their parents if they are still alive; otherwise they are supposed to live with a brother, sister, or other relatives. Another popular extended family pattern is the one in which a child is ‘borrowed’ by a relative with no children of his or her own. Among lower-class people one tends to find this phenomenon more often among grandparents who need the assistance of a child for housework. Among more well-to-do families, an uncle or aunt will offer to take care of a sibling’s children for an extended time period, primarily for sentimental reasons or because the biological parents already have other pressing obligations such as an extended leave abroad.

“Another common middle- and lower-class family pattern found in Egypt is the incorporation of nonrelatives, such as apprentices and work assistants, into a particular household. Such individuals have a special position, because even though not all of them sleep in the house of their employer, their food and laundry is part of the household. Upper-middle- and upper-class families are characterized by the presence of domestic servants who may or may not live in the household. Often domestic live-in servants will come from the family’s natal village, even if the family has not lived there for several generations.

that last group of people, the live-in servants from the family’s natal village, might often be distant relatives to the family for whom they work.

“Positivity in the Middle East: Developing Hope in Egyptian Organizational Leaders”
Advances in Global Leadership, Volume 4 (2006), pg. 281:

“Cultural collectivism dominates the Egyptian society, with extended families and family ties being very important. Children normally live with their parents until they get married, and sometimes even share their parents’ place after they get married due to their tight economic resources and the scarcity of affordable housing. Children are expected to support their parents at old age. However, this collectivism does not necessarily translate into patriotism. People may be loyal to their immediate families, to their extended families, to their neighbors, and to their friends and acquaintances, but not necessarily to their political leaders and current situation…. Sabotaging public transportation seats, writing on building walls, littering, breaking traffic lights, and other destructive behaviors are commonplace by children and adults alike. This behavior usually extends to the workplace, where personal abuse of business resources takes place, and in most cases even accepted as the norm.”

this final excerpt describes the situation in upper or southern egypt, i.e. where there is greater inbreeding:

Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt (1986), pgs. 150-51:

“The importance that poor peasants attach to the brokerage services by a single wealthy patron can be seen in the continuing importance of the extended family unit in rural Egypt. In the village of El-Diblah [pseudonymous village representative of upper egypt], as well as other Egyptian communities, politics and much of life itself are organized on the basis of large, extended families numbering 500 members or more. These extended families are broad patrilineal structures, which may or may not be able to trace themselves back to a single historical founder. While these extended families do not represent monolithic social structures, most fellahin are animated by a real feeling of belonging to a particular extended family unit. When they need a loan or help with outside government officials, poor peasants will often turn to the leader or a prominent person within their extended family. In the village of El-Diblah three of the four leading extended families are headed by rich peasants. In the eyes of most fellahin, this is exactly as it should be. In the countryside wealth acquired by virtually any means provides a good indication of an individual’s ability to deal with (or against) the ouside world.

“‘Zaghlul,’ for example, is the rich peasant head of one of the leading extended families in El-Diblah. A short, wiry 55-year-old fellah, whose dress and mannerisms are almost indistinguishable from those of other peasants in the village, Zaghlul now owns about 25 feddans of land. Much of this land is planted in sugar cane, a crop that he uses to supply his own cane press that produces black molasses for local sale. As the owner of 25 feddans of land, and the proprietor of one of the few ‘manufacturing’ enterprises in the village, Zaghlul is able to dispense a wide number of agricultural and non-agricultrual work opportunities to favored members of his extended family. Many of the poorer members of his extended family live in a mud-brick settlement surrounding Zaghlul’s modern two-story, red-brick house. In the evenings a steady stream of these poor people come to Zaghlul’s house, seeking brokerage and intercessionary services (for example, help in securing agricultural inputs and medical services from the government)….

previously: “l’explication de l’idéologie” and corporations and collectivities

update: see also mating patterns in egypt and corporations and collectivities

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what egyptians want ii

according to a new survey from pew:

“Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws, although a growing minority expresses reservations about the increasing influence of Islam in politics….

“When asked which country is the better model for the role of religion in government, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, 61% say the latter….”

“However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women….

“There is no consensus among Egyptians as to whether American financial assistance to their country is primarily economic or military. A plurality (34%) believes the aid is mostly to help Egypt develop economically, while 23% say the aid is mostly military. Nearly three-in-ten (28%) believe it is divided equally between economic and military assistance, and 14% offer no opinion.

Both types of American aid are viewed negatively by Egyptians. About six-in-ten (61%) say U.S. military aid has a harmful influence on Egypt, while just 11% believe its impact is positive, and 25% say it has no impact. Similarly, 61% consider U.S. economic aid harmful, while the remainder of the public is split between positive views (21%) and the belief that the aid has no impact (17%)….

well, if they don’t want it….

i should ‘fess up right now that i have an inexplicable** soft spot for egypt and egyptians. i really do wish them well and hope it all works out for them as best as it can work out.

previously: what egyptians want and aígyptos

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corporations and collectivities

i’ve been referring to western society — especially since the middle ages and forward — as being “corporate” in nature, i.e. that unrelated individuals in western societies tend to get together and form “corporate” sorts of groups, like guilds and mutual aid societies and even quite a few protestant churches, more than people in other societies do. this is as opposed to more family-based societies where social life and affairs are based on … yeah … the family — especially the extended family or clan or tribe. i thought i picked up the term “corporate” from avner greif [opens pdf], but he talks about “corporatism” and not strictly a society having a “corporate” nature, so i guess i sorta coined it myself (sorta) or got it from elsewhere.


in Family in Contemporary Egypt [available on questia] by andrea rugh, the author uses the term “corporate” or “corporations” not to refer to the individualistic groupings in western society, which she calls “collectivities”, but to family-based societies instead. i’ll let her explain it [pgs. 32-34]:

“Corporateness is used here to define that sense the Egyptian has of the inviolability of his social groups, of their indivisible unity that persists regardless of the constituent members. The term is contrasted with the concept of collectivity which is meant to refer to the Western perception of groups as collections of individuals joining to achieve the common interests of the individual members. Within the collectivity individual rights supercede group rights and are only restricted where they may conflict with the rights of other individuals. It is the exception to discern in the collectivity any supra-individual rights that might devolve on the larger group. The individual is generally protected by legal rule or social custom from too great a tyranny of the group.

“In a corporation, the group comes first and the individuals are expected to sacrifice their own needs for the greater good of the group. The personal status of individual members is defined by the group and not more than incidentally by individual achievement. Individual behaviors are evaluated primarily by how they reflect on the group, the group taking the blame or the rewards for these behaviors. Personal lapses in behavior, if kept secret, are of little consequence; it is only their public acknowledgement and association with the lowering of group status that causes an individual a sense of shame and personal guilt.

“The collective view, by contrast, considers the individual on his own merits. He can excel or not live up to the expectations of his group without reflecting more than marginally on that group. The individual draws on the group for support in achieving his own status level. He can personally overcome the deficiencies of his group, and the world will recognize his achievements. Society, as a result, holds him responsible for developing his own potentialities and only in special cases of disadvantage accepts the view that his group might hinder this effort.

“A person holding a corporate view or a collective view organizes his life quite differently from one holding the opposing view. Each view is so deeply engrained in the cultural consciousness of a people [i would say in the biology of a people – h. chick] that it is difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural perspective and project themselves into the consciousness of those holding the opposing view. People conceive of their own world view as representing logic, common sense, and other valued characteristics, and, indeed, given the whole social system within which the world view functions, it *is* the view with the best ‘fit’ to provice coherence for the society as a whole.

“The following illustration demonstrates the conflict in world view that occurs when member of a society that is corporate-based are to comment on the principles of a collectively based society:

“‘An American literature class in an Egyptian University had just finished Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. The American professor had explained all the pertinent points of Thoreau’s return to nature, his attempt at realizing self-sufficiency, his strong sense of individualism. The class was clearly uncomfortable with what they had been reading and were having difficulty in putting the book into some sort of familiar perspective.

“‘”How do you feel about Thoreau, the man, and do you think that a life style like his would be appropriate in the Egyptian context?” the professor asked. Hands flew up and a number of answers came at once:

“‘”He is a miser–he lacks generosity.” The student based his comments on the lengthy accounting Thoreau made of all the materials he had bought to sustain himself in the woods. “What is the purpose of going off and living alone? What kind of life is that?” “Doesn’t he have any family? He doesn’t speak about them. How can he leave all his responsibilities behind like that?”

“‘The consensus of the class was that Thoreau was not accomplishing anything useful by his anti-social behavior; he had abrogated his role as a social being. He should in fact be considered “crazy” and would be so considered if he should try to live in this way in the Egyptian context. The concept of self-realization and self-reliance were totally lost on the students.’

“Individualism has little positive value in Egyptian society, and often is equated with a number of negative outcomes. As one student later commented: ‘Individualism leads to sexual license and social chaos since everyone is seeking his own ends.'”

whatever way you wanna use the words — corporate vs. family-based or collectivities vs. corporations — what matters here is that, broadly speaking, there are two different types of societies: individualistic and group oriented. and the group oriented societies are based, not on random groupings of individuals, but on extended families, clans and tribes. and you get varying degrees of all that by greater or lesser amounts of inbreeding; you get individualism by outbreeding.

one thing i’d really like the hbd-o-sphere to think about and understand even more, though, is what rugh said about the difficulties that the two types of peoples have in understanding one another:

“Each view is so deeply engrained in the cultural consciousness of a people that it is difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural perspective and project themselves into the consciousness of those holding the opposing view.”

it’s not just difficult for people to stand outside their own cultural persepctive to understand others — it’s difficult for people to stand outside their own biological natures to understand other peoples’ biological natures. and this applies to all areas of human biodiversity, not just the inbreeding/outbreeding thing.

it’s hard to understand other individuals or peoples, unless you try, which most people don’t. most people don’t even ever consider trying to view things from a totally different perspective than their own. they don’t and/or can’t imagine that other people might, on a very fundamental level, think and feel differently about life.

for instance, if you’re one of those people who can wait on eatin’ the marshmallow so that you can have two later (mmmmmm!), imagine that there are some people who can’t do that. it’s not just that they choose not to wait, they CAN’T. then imagine what they must think about people who do. it’s not easy for either side. (i suspect it’s easier for higher iq people to imagine how others experience the world — if they bother trying — but think about the legions of people with below average iqs….)

anyway. enough soapboxing. (^_^) different peoples are different. i know you know that already, but think about it some more anyway. that is all! (^_^)

update: a couple of more passages from rugh [pgs. 281-82]:

“Corporateness has other social implications that can be discovered by reviewing some of the points made in earlier chapters….

First, group — most often family — becomes the bottom line for most kinds of social and economic organization. There is little use in talking about how an isolated individual copes in his socioeconomic environment since so much depends on the back-up support he commands….

Second, people feel a strong sense of who stands in a relation of outsider or insider, however they may momentarily define these categories. The zero-sum game, attributed to Egyptian social behavior, is based to a large extent on the sliding perception of who stands outside and who inside the group in any attempt to garner resources. Kin of varying degrees of distance can at different times fall in or outside the circle of alliance depending upon the activity at hand….

The villain for the individual Egyptian is almost always perceived as an outside aggressor rather than the Egyptian himself, his failings, or the failings of someone of his committed inner circle. This allows projection of problems on outside others rather than on introspective self-doubts or vital group members. The greater good requires that these kinds of deceptions be sustained by everyone concerned lest the solidarity of group be threatened. To combat the outside threat people seek to consolidate groups which can either strengthen life’s chances or spread life’s burdens. Limited and versatile groupings like the family are effective tools under these circumstances.

Third, confidence between people is based on trust which in turn is more likely to occur where structural relationships of group exist. The stronger the overlay of ties, jural and affective, the more confidence a person invests in another person. The jural ties of kinship are strongest, even without affective ties, for there is a strong moral obligation for kin to come to the aid of other kin, even when there have been no effective relationships between them over a long period of time…..”

previously: mating patterns and the individual

update: see also family type in egypt and mating patterns in egypt

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