random notes: 10/19/12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and from earlier in this section:

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

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

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

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14 Comments

  1. Mosuo marriage sounds absolutely lovely.

    I like Han Chinese in many ways, but I have to admit, I hear constantly from too many mainlanders about clannish family disputes that mess up their life (i live in China ATM). This family loyalty stuff, it sounds like it brings a nice feeling of belonging, but also like a recipe for infinite preoccupation with petty disputes.

    Reply

  2. Hey redzengeonoist, I’d like to access your blog but WordPress won’t even let me ask. They make it impossible to log-in. I hate them.

    Reply

  3. @luke – “here is a neat form of marriage I never heard of before”

    cool! hadn’t heard of the mosuo people before. (^_^)

    this is a kind of uxorilocal marriage, and other peoples have practiced it/do practice it. goes along with horticulture, apparently.

    Reply

  4. @redzen – “This family loyalty stuff, it sounds like it brings a nice feeling of belonging, but also like a recipe for infinite preoccupation with petty disputes.”

    aye, there’s the rub!

    Reply

  5. Uxorilocal marriage, primitive horticultural society: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    “http://vixra.org/pdf/1101.0027v2.pdf

    Reply

  6. The Structure of Parallel Cousin Marriage

    That Kasdan and Murphy paper is excellent, reading it is when the lightbulb really went on for me about the link between Arab marriage practices and the characteristics of their societies.

    “[Barth] sees parallel cousin marriage as a solidifying factor. We will maintain a converse proposition in this paper-namely, that the Arab evidence indicates that parallel cousin marriage underlies this extreme fission process. […] From this point of view, feud and fission are not at all dysfunctional factors but are necessary to the persistence and viability of Bedouin society.”

    They just explain it all so well. I also highly recommend (and may have before?) Louise Sweet’s ‘Camel raiding of North Arabian bedouin: a mechanism of ecological adaptation’. I tend to think our marriage practices come in large part from our (long-ago) physical environment, and Sweet lays out the reality of desert camel herding in such a clear, vivid way. Really helped me understand the Arabs better. [I saved that paper long ago off the internet for free, but can’t find it online anymore…would be more than happy to send it to anyone who wants to see it]

    Your quote on Balkan traffickers is timely; just last week there was a huge bust-up of an Albanian trafficking ring in eastern France. (Both heroin and people.) They’ve got a very rough reputation here.

    Also I searched for more detailed info on “woonwagenbewoner,” thinking I might find some in French (there are loads of Belgians who are bilingual Dutch/French), but I didn’t find anything of interest. If I do I will send it your way!

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  7. Just knowing that there’s a group of people out there called “woonwagenbewoner” makes my day.

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  8. @t. cat – “Just knowing that there’s a group of people out there called ‘woonwagenbewoner’ makes my day.”

    definitely my new favorite word! (^_^)

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  9. @m.g. – “‘We will maintain a converse proposition in this paper-namely, that the Arab evidence indicates that parallel cousin marriage underlies this extreme fission process. […] From this point of view, feud and fission are not at all dysfunctional factors but are necessary to the persistence and viability of Bedouin society.'”

    that’s really it, isn’t it?! because of the structure of the clans — each an independent, “encysted” unit in and of themselves — they can, and do, split apart — with comparative ease. AND they can come back together again if and when they need to (“…my cousin and my brother and i against the stranger…”) pretty rapidly, too — but never permanently (drat!).

    i still have yet to sit and read the kasdan & murphy paper thoroughly. i just got my hands on it, and haven’t had time to sit down and have a good read of it yet. (^_^)

    @m.g. – “I also highly recommend (and may have before?) Louise Sweet’s ‘Camel raiding of North Arabian bedouin: a mechanism of ecological adaptation’.”

    thanks! i’ll check it out.

    @m.g. – “I tend to think our marriage practices come in large part from our (long-ago) physical environment….”

    definitely! that’s definitely a part of it. and, maybe, a big part of it.

    @m.g. – “…just last week there was a huge bust-up of an Albanian trafficking ring in eastern France.”

    oops! =/ yes, i will agree with mr. anonymous serbian(?) — too many albanians seem to REALLY be up to no good. =/

    @m.g. – “Also I searched for more detailed info on “woonwagenbewoner,” … If I do I will send it your way!”

    oh, thanks so much! (^_^)

    Reply

  10. @luke – “Uxorilocal marriage, primitive horticultural society: ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”

    thanks for the link! (^_^)

    Reply

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