arab thoroughbreds

greg cochran says (or writes, i guess — unless he talks to his computer monitor like some of us people do…):

“If a new environment favored lower (or higher) aggressiveness in males, a Y-chromosome that induced lower (or higher) aggressiveness would take off. And since different Y chromosomes do indeed affect the level of aggressiveness in mice [which I just found out], possibly by affecting testosterone production – this mechanism is plausible….

“Fortunately for all concerned, the selective value of aggressiveness, etc. has been the same for all human populations forever and ever, before and after the development of agriculture. Otherwise you might see weirdly rapid expansions of particular Y-chromosome haplogroups – common, yet only a few thousand years old.”

i nominate as one such example of this selection that never happened the “YCAII=22-22 and DYS388≥15” cluster of haplogroup J-M267 which, depending on who you read, may or may not be related to the arabs’ expansion out of their peninsula in historic times. whatever the full story, haplogroup J-M267 certainly looks arab-expansiony:

HG_J1_(ADN-Y)

hage and marck have shown how mating patterns can affect the distribution of sex chromosome haplogroups (mmmm-hmmm!). the prevalence of father’s brother’s daughter’s (fbd) marriage amongst the arabs could certainly have had an effect on the successful distribution of the J-M267 haplogroup, especially the YCAII-whatchamacallit cluster mentioned above if it was really connected to the arab expansion.

remember that fbd marriage concentrates y-chromosome types into these patrilineages, so fathers, sons, grandfathers, paternal uncles, paternal nephews, paternal male cousins, etc., all share the same y-chromosome (barring variations due to mutations, of course):

parallel cousin marriage

of particular interest is how men (“C” in diagram above) ensure that their male grandchildren by their daughters (“E” in diagram above) also have their y-chromosome, ’cause they marry their daughters off to their paternal nephews (i talked about that here). this doesn’t happen in most marriage systems. so, really, ALL the males in (ideal) arab, fbd patrilineages share the same y-chromosome.

this is one way that inbreeding could serve to accelerate the acquisition of “genes for altruism” in a population. if, say, those genes were aggression genes on the y-chromosome — genes that led to altruistic behaviors in the sense that the individuals having them were more likely to “kill thy unrelated neighbor” and make life better for themselves and their own — then inbreeding, especially father’s brother’s daughter’s marriage, could help those genes pile up more quickly.

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so why DID the japanese quit marrying their cousins?

one of the reasons seems to have been that the policy was, indeed, part of the modernization/westernization move in late-nineteenth century japan (sort-of the opposite of what happened in the maghreb/mashriq/parts of south asia when they went through an arabization process — oops! — bad luck).

from “Japan’s Outcaste Abolition: The struggle for national inclusion and the making of the modern state” [pgs. 82-83] (the “new commoners” referred to here are the burakumin whose social status changed with the “edict abolishing ignoble classes” — they were literally new commoners after moving up in the world [theoretically anyway]. “eta” also=burakumin. links added by me.):

“[O]ne of the main government aims of the time was to improve the national stock so as to maximize economic productivity and military power, as expressed in the slogan ‘rich country, strong military’. Although eugenics as a scientific discipline was not introduced into Japan until the end of the Meiji period, the Meiji government had from its inception followed policies to foster stronger and healthier Japanese bodies through its encouragement of milk-drinking and meat-eating, as well as through its public hygiene and health policies. If there was a hereditary and inferior Eta nature that was biologically transmitted, then it would be in the national interest to minimize relationships between New Commoners and others.

“The leaders of the semi-official Greater Japan Private Hygiene Association, whose purpose was to improve the nation’s human resources and to heighten people’s value as labour and military power, made explicit this connection between state interests and individual health. At this body’s inaugural assembly in 1883, its president and the future head of the Japanese Red Cross, Sano Tsunetami (1822-1902), declared that, ‘the health of each of us is related to whether our country shall be strong or weak, rich or poor’. Another executive, the medical doctor Hasegawa Yasushi (1842-1912), pronounced that the association’s aim was to ‘make the nation healthy, foster the strength that is the font of capital, […] and thereby increase militarisation’.

“Intellectuals debated precisely how the state might realize the goal of improving its human resources. Based on notions of a racial hierarchy topped by Westerners, holders of one extreme view proposed that Japanese people should interbreed with Western people. ‘The physiques and minds of Japanese are inferior to Westerners’, one writer argued, going on to propose that ‘we should import [Western] women…”

heh! (~_^)

“…and promote meat-eating to further improve our race’. While the latter idea about eating more meat proved popular, the former proved contentious. Hozumi Yatsuka attacked plans for racial interbreeding on the grounds it would adversely affect ancestor worship, a practice that in his opinion underpinned the Japanese nation.

“In somewhat more scientific fashion, the pre-eminent conservative intellectual Kato Hiroyuki pointed out in 1887 that if Westerners were racially superior and their genes dominant, then rather than improving the Japanese race, intermarriage between Western women and Japanese men would lead logically and unacceptably to the eventual replacement and disappearance of Japanese. Partly as a result of such criticisms, Japanese scholars ‘tended to emphasise environmental elements over genetics’, and devised practical plans to improve the population by reforming and improving people’s lifestyles.

People who looked at ways to reform popular lifestyles from the perspectives of national health and state power turned their attention to improving sanitation and diet and also drew attention to the problem of ‘inbreeding’ or marriages between close blood relatives. They considered inbreeding practices to be widespread, and thus to pose a serious problem, since they gave rise to disease and deformity, and ultimately would bring about ‘racial decline’. In light of these unwanted effects, intellectuals and officials called on people to desist from such unions.

“There had been occasional attacks on inbreeding during the early Meiji years. In 1875, Minoura Katsundo (1854-1929), a student of Fukuzawa Yukichi, had bemoaned the fact that alliances between close blood relatives were causing aristocratic degeneracy. Such claims were countered, however, by arguments that inbreeding was necessary to maintain the purity of aristocratic bloodlines. But growing out of a more general concern with ‘racial improvement’ among the socio-political elite, the concern with inbreeding that emerged in the latter part of the Meiji period was much broader in its focus, and it was given legal grounding by the 1898 Civil Code, which prohibited marriages between close relatives.

my questions are: first, what does “close relatives” mean? presumably first cousins anyway. then, how well was this civil code enforced? or was it changed at some point? or did the japanese not have to register their marriages with the state? or were there a lot of exemptions or something? because if there was a law banning cousin marriage in japan, why then were 22.4% of marriages in japan in the 1910s-1920s between cousins? (i actually saw a figure of 50% in something i was reading yesterday — need to find it again.) lots of looking the other way by officials? bribery? what was going on?

more from the book:

“A noteworthy aspect of the mid-to-late-Meiji anti-inbreeding campaign was that writers alleged that practice to be prevalent among New Commoners. Their claims may have had the effect of discouraging some people from inbreeding practices, as presumably the threat of becoming alike to New Commoners constituted a powerful disincentive. Such claims may have had some basis in the fact that discrimination limited the marriage pool of New Commoners and thus promoted community endogamy. But to target New Commoners as particular practitioners of this ‘offence’ was to ignore the fact that marriage relations between close relatives were not all uncommon among the population generally, and were prevalent especially among the upper reaches of society.”

previously: japan – reversal of fortune? and historic mating patterns in japan

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italy – reversal of fortune?

who knows?

but italy could be another place to look for a possible rapid inbreeding drop-off/rapid iq increase connection (see yesterday’s post) just ’cause the consang data are available. and they did, indeed, have a pretty rapid decrease in cousin marriage rates — at least in northern italy — not so much in the south. (i can’t think of any other examples where consang data are readily available — i mean without delving into church records or something like that.)

no idea if there are any early iq data available for italy, though. i won’t be looking for them (iq questions? – meh) — just wanted to let anyone who might be interested know that the numbers for the drop in inbreeding do exist for italy. (^_^)

look for the consang data here: Consanguinity, Inbreeding and Genetic Drift in Italy (tables also available here).

i put together a table of the first and last lustra in cavalli-sforza’s data set for a previous post, but there are data for each lustrum in between, too. you can get an idea of the scale of the drop-off (in the regions where there was a drop-off) from my nifty table:

1st cousin marriages - cavalli-sforza

previously: japan – reversal of fortune?

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japan – reversal of fortune?

a couple of months ago, greg cochran wrote about how a population (any given population) might raise its average iq quickly — like over two or three generations. one possible method, he suggested, was to quit inbreeding. here’s what he said:

“I’ve been thinking, off and on, about sudden changes in the cognitive abilities of populations: groups low suddenly scoring much higher or lower on a time scale too short to be explained by selection: say, three generations or less…. I can think of two perfectly feasible strategies that *would* cause significant one-generation increases in intelligence, in certain populations. Iodine supplementation, in places where it’s short, has a big payoff…. The other practical, low-tech strategy would be stopping cousin marriage. The next generation would be in much better shape, since the children of first cousins take a substantial IQ hit – maybe six points or so.

i think i may have stumbled across an example of a population rapidly dropping cousin marriage and, also very rapidly, gaining iq points.

japan.

yesterday, i was working on a completely different post about japan and cousin marriage, when i rediscovered this [pg. 30] (click on chart for LARGER version):

japan consanguinity rates - decline

that’s the decline in the average national consanguinity rates in japan from 1947 to the early-1980s. but the consang rates were even higher in the 1910s-1920s at 22.4% [pg. 29] (and who knows how high the rates might’ve been even further back?), so the chart above should look something more like this (pardon my crayola — and note that i just eyeballed it — click on chart for LARGER version):

japan consanguinity rates - decline - crayola 02

when i rediscovered this yesterday, i remembered what greg had written, and got to wondering if there were any historic data for japanese iqs and if there’d been any changes in those iqs over time. so i googled (as one does) … and found this:

The Rise of National Intelligence: Evidence from Britain, Japan and the U.S.A. [pdf] – lynn and hampson.

from that article [pgs. 27-31]:

“It has been possible to find five studies providing evidence on the secular trend of intelligence in Japan for the post World War II period….

“(1) Ushijima’s study (1961)….

“Here the Ushijima intelligence test was administered to 1365 children in 1953 and to a comparable sample of 1370 children in 1960 with the objective of determining any change in the mean over this relatively short period. The children were aged 9-15 years.

“(i) All age groups show a rise in scores for all abilities. The overall mean increase was 0.66 standard deviations, the equivalent of 9.9 IQ points, and representing an IQ gain of 14.1 IQ points per decade. This is of course a very considerable increase and much greater than anything found in either Britain or the U.S.A.

“(ii) The IQ increases are in general greater among the younger age groups than among the older….”

see my crayola chart above. kids who were fifteen in 1953 would’ve been born way back in 1938 when the consang rates were above 15% — maybe 17 or 18% (remember, i just eyeballed it, so this is a complete guess really) — while kids who were nine in 1953 would’ve been born in 1944 when consang rates were hovering right around 15%, in other words lower. same for the later cohort from 1960: fifteen year olds would’ve been born in 1945, nine years old in 1951. the younger the kids in the cohorts, the less chances their parents were related.

more from the article…

“(2) Kaneko’s study (1970)….

“Kaneko’s invetigation of a possible rise in the scores on this test was carried out in 1963….

“Hence the mean IQ in these schools has risen 10.38 IQ points over the 9-yr period … represents an IQ gain of 11.4 IQ points per decade. This figure is evidently broadly similar to the rise of 14.1 IQ points per decade for 1953-1960 found by Ushijima and confirms a very considerable rate of IQ gain in Japan in these early post World War II years.

“(3) Sano’s study (1974)….

“It will be seen that in all samples there were considerable increases in mean IQ from 1954 to 1972. The increases appear to be a little greater among the city children than among those from the prefrecture. When the results for 10- and 11-yr olds are combined, city children gained 18.04 IQ points and prefrecture children 15.07 IQ points….”

that the city children had greater gains than the rural kids is not surprising if inbreeding is the factor making the difference here. even up to the 1980s, consanguinity rates have been quite a bit lower in urban areas in japan as compared to rural areas (see table in this post for example). (more on this soon in that upcoming post on japan.)

“The average of the two gains is 16.56 IQ points, representing a gain of approx. 9.15 IQ points per decade for the entire sample.

“Sano also considered the question of whether the IQ gains in Japan have been increasing at a constant rate. For this he used Kaneko’s 1964 data which were available for two of the schools. He calculated that the increase in mean IQ was 10.47 points for 1954-1963 and 3.42 for 1963-1972…. ([I]t will also be noted that the gain of 10.47 IQ points for 1954-1963 is closely similar to Kaneko’s figure of 10.38 for the same period.)

“It is apparent therefore that there was a considerable deceleration in the rate of increase in intelligence over the period 1954-1972….”

again, see my crayola chart. the decline in cousin marriage rates is much sharper in the decades preceding 1954 than during those preceding 1963. in other words, there was a deceleration in the reduction of cousin marriages over time, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at a deceleration in the increases in iq over time.

“(4) Wechsler studies….

“Thus after making these adjustments we have Japanese mean IQs of 101.9 for 1951 and 107.4 for 1975. Hence over this 24-yr period (1951-1975) the Japanese mean IQ increased by 5.5 IQ points relative to the American IQ…. This represents a Japanese IQ gain of 5.75 IQ points per decade. This rate of increase for the period of 1951-1975 is somewhat less than Sano’s result of a 9.15 IQ point per decade increase over approximately the same period (1954-1972)….

“A second Japanese study using the WISC and WISC-R is also available (Anon, 1981)…. This gives a rise of 20.03 IQ points over the 24-yr period, making 8.34 IQ points per decade….”

lynn and hampson conclude:

“The conclusion of the Japanese studies is as follows. Two studies of the early post World War II period show substantial IQ gains of 9.9 and 11.4 IQ points per decade. Three studies of a longer period from approx. 1950-1975 show lower IQ gains of 9.1, 8.3 and 5.7 IQ points per decade, giving an average gain of 7.7 IQ points per decade. Since the early part of this period was characterized by a greater rate of gain, it appears that since around 1960 the IQ gains in Japan have decelerated to approx. 5 IQ points per decade….

“It is not particularly surprising that the Japanese gains should have been the greatest of the three countries. Japan was a relatively underdeveloped country in the 1930s with a per capita income about one eighth of that of the U.S.A.”

but the country was probably relatively underdeveloped because the japanese had a lower average iq at the time, and it’s since increased phenomenally … due to the sharp and rapid decline in inbreeding in japan? and so has their economic success obviously.
_____

i’d be curious to know two things:

– why did the japanese quit marrying their cousins? was there some official policy out there discouraging it — as part of their general modernization, “be more like the westerners” move? did the people just naturally adopt it as part of that westernization package? was it connected to christianity in japan? (japanese catholics historically had lower first cousin marriage rates than other religious groups — i’ll get to this in my upcoming post on japanese cousin marriage — the one that i was working on yesterday!). was it related to industrialization and urbanization? all of the above? none of the above?

– has something similar happened in china and/or korea (or elsewhere for that matter — i mean in modern times)? the cousin marriage rates for china are reportedly very low — today — but i’m pretty sure they were much higher in the past — even the recent past (see mating patterns in asia series below ↓ in the left-hand column), but i don’t have as good data for china as what i’ve presented here for japan. but inquiring minds want to know!

see also: Reversal of Fortune

previously: historic mating patterns in japan

(note: comments do not require an email. cool japanese people!)

the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

**update below**

following up from this

“These data again demonstrate the political role of preferred marriage forms. Exogamy and lack of cousin marriage within large lowland nation-states aid in uniting disparate clans and villages. By contrast, the absence of exogamy and the presence of preferred cousin marriage intensify relationships within the small upland social units.”

…where in the world should we expect to find cousin marriage/inbreeding/endogamy vs. lack of cousin marriage/outbreeding/exogamy? note that i think this lowland/upland dichotomy particularly applies to agriculturalists vs. agri-pastoralists/pastoralists and (maybe) not so much to hunter-gatherers, so i’m ignoring hunter-gatherers for right now. (click on map for LARGER view):

>> inbreeding <<

– saudi arabia, yemen, oman, uae: check. especially, once-upon-a-time (i.e. before the spread of islam), in the western and southern regions of the arabian peninsula. dunno if that is true or not.

– the middle east: check. but not, once-upon-a-time (i.e. before the coming of islam?), in egypt. dunno if that is true or not.

– turkey, iran, turkmenistan, afghanistan, pakistan: check.

– southern, but not northern, india: check.

– ethiopia, most of east africa heading southwards except for coastal areas: the amhara of ethiopia (and ethiopian jews) have rules against close endogamy, but that’s probably/possibly largely a result of the introduction of christianity. other groups in ethiopia certainly practice endogamy. dunno about the rest of east africa.

– nepal, bhutan, other groups in the himalayas: i happen to know that the nepalese have a tradition of cousin marriage, just haven’t gotten around to posting about it yet. dunno about bhutan or other himalayan folks.

– northern parts of southeast asia, vietnam (talk about very stubborn guerrilas!), northern thailand: check.

– indonesia: more on borneo than most of the other islands. no idea.

– southern and western china, but not northeast china (including manchuria): my impression from the reading so far is that clans, so probably the cousin marriage that definitely occurred/s in china, were historically more prevelant in southern than northern china. further research is required. (~_^)

– japan: check.

– southern europe: spain, southern france, central and southern italy including sicily and sardinia, greece, the balkans — check, check, check, check, check. if you haven’t already, see mating patterns in europe series in left-hand column below ↓.

– alpine countries: switzerland, austria, etc. not sure.

– northern europe: scotland, wales, parts of ireland, norway. — check, check, check, not sure. again, see mating pattern in europe series.

– russian federation (better map here): from the urals westwards generally yes, although there are patches of lowland areas in the west. the west siberian plain should be a large area of outbreeding until you get to the central siberian plateau (unless western russians settled there bringing their marriage traditions with them?). dunno the details.

– north africa: esp. in the atlas mountains. not sure what the berber mating patterns were pre-islam. the cousin marriage rates are high today.

>> outbreeding <<

– northern europe: england, northern france, belgium, the netherlands, denmark, northern germany, northern poland — check, check, check, check, check, check, more-or-less. especially since the medieval period, but there was most likely cousin marriage/endogamy in all of these places pre-christianity. see mating patterns in europe series.

– iraq: around the tigris and euphrates — the garden of eden. lots of inbreeding, in fact, but that may have been introduced by the arabs along with islam — certainly father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage likely was. dunno what the marriage practices of the populations there were pre-islam. i wonder what they were in ancient sumerian, etc., times? dunno.

– large parts of west africa: dunno. there appears to be some high cousin marriage rates in parts of guinea and nigeria, but that’s just where there are some highlands in west africa. dunno for sure.

– central africa: niger/chad area. dunno.

– coastal east africa: dunno.

– libya and egypt: pre-islam. dunno.

– northern india: check. relative to their neighbors anyway.

– parts of russia: see comments above in inbreeding section.

– northern china: see comments above in inbreeding section.

– parts of southeast asia: check.

– parts of indonesia: in particular the southeastern part of sumatra. dunno.
_____

**update 09/14: oops — forgot the new world (remember – agriculturalists only):

– western/southwestern north america, mesoamerica, anybody in the andes: should’ve been inbreeders. dunno for sure.

– eastern north america: groups in the midwest ought to have been outbreeders, relatively speaking. anybody in appalachia ought to have been inbreeding. florida groups (were they agriculturalists?) should’ve been outbreeders — according to this theory anyway. dunno for sure.
_____

previously: this one’s for g.w.

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the auvergnat pashtuns

melykin draws my attention (thanks, mel!) to a novel — Pays Perdu (“lost country”) — by the french writer pierre jourde which apparently is:

“[A]n account of his time in the hamlet of Lussaud in the Auvergne. He likened the place to a ‘hamlet of bandits in the Pashtun tribal zone’. As if to prove his point, when he returned his car was ambushed and pelted with stones.”

afaict from reading the google translations, the reason that these auvergnat pashtuns had pelted jourde’s car — which contained him and, i think, his wife and three children — was because they didn’t like his portrayal of them as inbred country bumpkins in his novel. heh. (it should be noted that jourde’s family is/was from lussaud — and/or he himself is/was — wasn’t 100% clear to me from the google translations.)

lussaud is in the departement of cantal in auvergne, a rather mountainous region of france. in my recent post on mating patterns in france, we learned that at least some of the population in the auvergne was very inbred in the 1700-1800s:

“After the end of the eighteenth century the small isolated village of Pinon in the Auvergne gained fame as an example of ‘communal’ exploitation of the soil, with the different branches of one ‘family’ marrying among themselves. In 1787 the commune consisted of four such branches totalling 19 persons in all who married amongst themselves. Indeed, according to one source, the Pope had granted them a permanent dispensation against ‘cousinage’.”

and not only were the folks of the auvergne inbreeding closely in the 1700-1800s, they were also behaving in the pashtun-like ways that jourde experienced — here from Crime and Repression in the Auvergne and the Guyenne, 1720-1790 [pgs. 193, 195-197]:

At least two aspects of these sources [administrative correspondence] however suggest that life in the Auvergne *was* more than usually brutal, that violence was more pervasive and socially acceptable than in more civilised provinces. There is first of all the shocked reaction of strangers in the province — travellers like Le Grand d’Aussy, government officials fresh from Paris, or the rare example of an outsider….

“[I]n the Issoire area of the Basse-Auvergne, the peace was constantly disturbed by the young men from Apchat, Ardes, and neighbouring parishes, ‘who only go to the fetes to have a fight’. According to the subdelegue, the fairground was ‘their favourite battlefield’.

“It was not until 1760 that an intendant took serious steps to restore order. Ballainvilliers was forced to attend to the problem of the administration of justice by a number of crimes which were remarkable only for their brutality. The problem which faced the authorities was, as we have seen, not so much the negligence of the police force, though M de Valette had plenty to say about the conduct of the Mauriac brigade, as the collapse of seigneurial justice. The decline of this crucial aspect of ‘feudalism’ in the Auvergne was marked not by the growing importance of theft, but by the incidence of violence. Ballainvilliers was informed that a canon of the Clermont Cathedral chapter had stabbed to death the daughter of a conseiller in the Cour des Aides while having tea with the young lady and her mother; in a different social setting, Marguerite Paulet was hacked limb from limb by the young man she had not wanted to marry. When steps were taken in 1760 to ascertain the extent of seigneurial negligence, the list of unpunished crimes painted a vivid picture of the cheapness of human life in the Auvergne.

“The Besse subdelegue reported that in the course of a riot in the summer of 1752, the servant of the Murol procureur fiscal had gone beserk, started lashing out at anyone near him and was himself killed; two others had received knife injuries ‘without knowing why or from whom’. From Bort came the sparse memorandum that there had been seventeen murders and no arrests. The Rochefort report provided more details: a miller who had opposed the construction of a wall across his meadow – killed by a blow from a spade; an innkeeper – killed by a locksmith in a brawl on the way home from the fair; a court official – killed while trying to seize livestock for non-payment of debts; a man killed in a fight for a place at a gambling table; a girl killed by her brother when he applied to her head the shovel they were using to load manure on to a cart. There was endless variety in the reports of these bloody scenes which came from all corners of the province: from Aurillac, word came of a labourer killed in a field on receiving a blow from a hoe; from Langeac, of a postilion killed by another servant as they argued at table in the chateau de Chavagnac; near Issoire, the servants of a miller had a quarrel, and the body of one was later washed up by the stream; from Ardes murders were reported which had been committed by brigadiers of the gabelle ‘in pursuit of smugglers’; an Aurillac priest was indicted for rape, murder and arson; the Riom subdelegue reported a murder committed by Christophe de Panneyre, ecuyer, an 8-year-old child; an aunt killed by her nephew, a woman by her father-in-law, brother by brother. A bottle of wine was often blamed: one peasant, fighting with a drunk neighbour received a knife blow ‘which brought his intestines into the daylight’. No government official even attempted to analyse the state of mind of the persons unknown who had abandoned newly born babies to drown in ditches, or to be half-eaten by dogs on piles of garbage.

To this private death toll must be added the victims of communal violence. This was occasionally contained within the confines of the parish, as in the ‘bloody battle’ between the inhabitants of the parish of La Queulhe who exchanged blows with pickaxes and shovels in a dispute over the division of brushwood. More often, the corpses littered the battlefields of inter-parish warfare. Again the motive for the violence is often obscure. In the case of Sauvagnat versus St Frome the subdelegue simply noted that this was the third Sunday in a row that the two parishes had fought it out. It was traditional for the parish of Madriat to send along a band of rowdies to the annual fete in Augnat – ‘for the express purpose of disturbing divine service, maltreating and striking the residents’. Every year, the brigade of marechaussee turned up to try to keep the parishioners apart. The inhabitants of the nearby parish of Chadeleuf ‘form a little republic’, and directed their energies against the inhabitants of Neschers to the north west, or Sauvagnat and Pardines to the east and south. There were continual battes in this direction, as the parishioners of Chadeleuf had many sheep and restricted grazing grounds, and constantly tried to ursurp those of their neighbours. In 1756, two men died in these struggles, and the trouble broke out again two years later; the police did not intervene, and the cures of the parishes concerned drew up a peace treaty.

“Although two other villages in the Issoire district fought a battle over a corvee dispute, no issue was so inflammatory as grazing. It was asking for trouble for the owner of a hillside and wood traditionally used by the parish of Fossat to give permission to some inhabitants of Valcivieres to use them for grazing their livestock, even if only for a limited time. Fossat called to arms: pistols, guns, bayonets, pikes, iron pitchforks and clubs appeared, and chased the intruders back to Valcivieres. The parish of Colamines was torn apart by civil war when the ancient grazing rights of the village of Longchamp were attacked by fellow parishioners from the village of Bourg. Bourg made the mistake of launching the assault with insufficient forces, and it was repulsed. The inhabitants of Longchamp remained in triumphant possession of the battlefield. Bourg was uncowed, hoever, soon the tocsin rang out again, and this time at full strength the villagers of Bourg routed their neighbours, and pursued them all the way to Longchamp….

“By the eighteenth century, there is scarcely a trace of noble violence to be found….

“There is however no evidence to prove that the new provisions covering seigneurial justice seriously affected the prevalence of violence in the peasant community, and two sources at least suggest that such a transformation was highly unlikely. One is the evidence of the violence which continued to be directed against the police themselves – the ‘rebellions’ for which we do have documentation, and which, as we shall see, showed no signs of abating in frequency or ferocity in the latter part of the century. The other testimony to the longevity of the Auvergnat violence is an eye-witness, Le Grand d’Aussy, who travelled in the province on the very eve of the Revolution and found the same penchant for communal brutality that had so little distressed the subdelegues of earlier decades….

tribalism in south-central france — just a couple of centuries ago! who woulda guessed?!

previously: meanwhile, in france…

(note: comments do not require an email. lussaud.)

more on albanians

there are two broad groups of albanians, the gheg speakers in the north of the country (the blues on the map) and the tosk speakers in the south (the greens):

Dialects_of_the_Albanian_Language

today, the ghegs are more clannish/tribal than the tosks. there are historical (stemming from topographical) reasons for this (emphases and links added by me):

“The social structure of the country was, until the 1930s, basically tribal in the north and semifeudal in the central and southern regions. The highlanders of the north retained their medieval pattern of life until well into the twentieth century and were considered the last people in Europe to preserve tribal autonomy. In the central and southern regions, increasing contact with the outside world and invasions and occupations by foreign armies had gradually weakened tribal society.

“Traditionally there have been two major subcultures in the Albanian nation: the Gegs in the north and the Tosks in the south. The Gegs, partly Roman Catholic but mostly Muslim, lived until after World War II in a mountain society characterized by blood feuds and fierce clan and tribal loyalties. The Tosks, whose number included many Muslims as well as Orthodox Christians, were less culturally isolated mainly because of centuries of foreign influence. Because they had came under the rule of the Muslim landed aristocracy, the Tosks had apparently largely lost the spirit of individuality and independence that for centuries characterized the Gegs, especially in the highlands.

“Until the end of World War II, society in the north and, to a much lesser extent, in the south, was organized in terms of kinship and descent. The basic unit of society was the extended family, usually composed of a couple, their married sons, the wives and children of the sons, and any unmarried daughters. The extended family formed a single residential and economic entity held together by common ownership of means of production and common interest in the defense of the group. Such families often included scores of persons, and, as late as 1944, some encompassed as many as sixty to seventy persons living in a cluster of huts surrounding the father’s house.

Extended families were grouped into clans whose chiefs preserved patriarchal powers over the entire group. The clan chief arranged marriages, assigned tasks, settled disputes, and set the course to be followed concerning essential matters such as blood feuds and politics. Descent was traced from a common ancestor through the male line, and brides usually were chosen from outside the clan. Clans in turn were grouped into tribes.

“In the Tosk regions of the south, the extended family was also the most important social unit, although patriarchal authority had been diluted by the feudal conditions usually imposed by the Muslim bey….”
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here’s a really (REALLY) long excerpt from Poverty in Albania: A Qualitative Assessment with some notes of my own thrown in here and there. the excerpted bits are italicized while my comments are not. the quote from the book comes from pages 83-90. the book itself was published in 2002 and comprises the results of a series of surveys undertaken across albania by world bank researchers in the late 1990s and early 2000s (again, emphases and links added by me):

“Civil Society

“People in all the study sites generally want a capable government that solves problems and creates opportunities. A combination of factors — inadequate government presence, poor management of government functions, corruption, and lack of confidence that elections will change conditions — has created a vacuum of authority in parts of Albania. In certain rural locations, particularly in the north and east, there is no functioning government. In these areas, institutions such as extended families/clans are filling the gaps of authority…. Further, Albanians’ wariness of other groups in general — other families, ethnic groups, and religious groups — fragments civil society and confines non-governmental solutions to local areas….

“Filling the Vacuum

“Two forces are rising to fill the vacuum of government authority — the traditional fis structure, and the small, ad-hoc aid programs of foreign governments and private organizations in some eastern parts of the country….

“The fis is even more important for filling the power vacuum. An elder in Mirdita describes authority there: ‘I am elected elder of this village. The water resources are distributed according to the old traditions, based on the fis. Here things are settled based on the fis, not the state. My fis is composed of my uncle, first cousins, and also fourth cousins. When there is discord that involves injuries … it is not the state that gets involved to resolve the problem, but the wisest of the elderly men in the fis. We discuss how to resolve the problem and develop a consensus. Then we make the decision and the problem is resolved.’

“Re-emergence of the Fis and Canun

A fis is a group of people descended from the same great grandfather. This extended family is bound together tightly by tradition, culture, and a set of rules called the Canun, which were formalized by Lek Dukagjini in the 1400s. The Canun withered under Communism but has resumed governing importance in some areas. As Remzi, a fis elder in Kukes, explains, ‘The Canun is now starting to function because the government is weak … and the government’s laws are not being properly implemented by the state.’ Fis in some areas are now using the traditional Canun, or a modern variation of it, to govern themselves. As noted in the chapter on agriculture, issues of land reform, land use, irrigation water distribution, and other matters are being determined by the fis structure using the Canun as the basis for decisions….

Fis are found primarily in northern rural Albania (Kukes, Mirdita, and Shkordra), but they also exist in the highlands of Korca and among the Roma populations….

“Fis Governance

In each village, there may be as few as 3 or as many as 10 fis. As noted earlier, a fis is defined as a group of those people who descend directly from a common great grandfather. In practical terms, each fis comprises three to four generations. The number of people in each fis can range from fewer than 10 to more than 500 people. The selection of leaders within a fis varies, but there are some common practices. Each fis is led by a male who is elected by other males in the fis. Often the elected leader is the oldest active male, who is responsible for setting and enforcing standards of behavior. He usually does not make important decisions alone, but in consultation with other respected males in the fis, including brothers and sons, and extending to cousins….

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“Relations Within and Among the Fis

‘When someone in our fis makes a mistake, even if he is 40 years old, the entire fis gets together and orders him not to commit further mistakes and put shame on us all. This is our way to preserve tradition. There are seven or eight fis in the village, and we are in competition with each other to be the best one. When one of us makes a mistake or commits a crime, the entire fis is humiliated and its reputation is hurt…. When I have disputes within the fis, I try to resolve them within the fis. But if I cannot do so, I sometimes will invite and elder from another fis to listen to our problems and provide mature judgement. And if we do not get a satisfying result from this, we address the problem to the committee of elders in the village.’ – Hamit, an elder in Shkodra
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“Where the government is totally absent, the committee of elders governs without a government institution by managing common work and the relationships among the various fis. In these situations, the committee of elders uses some version of the Canun to set rules and govern. According to Preng, and elder in Mirdita, ‘I am the elected leader of the fis…. Here, things are settled by the fis and we do not rely on the government. My fis is composed of my uncle, first cousins, and also fourth cousins. When there is a dispute that results in injury, it is not the government that gets involved but the elders who get together and decide the fee. A committee of elders, the wisest men from all the fis, discusses the problem and resolves it based on consensus. When the fee is paid, then the problem is considered resolved…. If the criminal has no money to pay the fee, then he is killed. The fee depends on the issue and how events happened….

“Applying the Canun

“The application of Canun varies by fis. A few apply the traditional Canun, even though they recognize its shortcomings. They feel that, despite the traditional Canun’s weaknesses, it is the best solution in the absence of government. In one area of Kukes, an elder describes the Canun as ‘unprincipled and not fair as the laws. It is very tough and incites disputes and revenge. For instance, according to the Canun, if someone hits you, then you have the right to kill him…. It has some very precise rules, though in today’s society it is hard to implement the rules…. For instance, the Canun does not allow my daughter to bring bread or coffee in the room when guests visit. Women must wear a scarf on their head. A stranger who is visiting your house must not shake hands with your wife or daughter.’ The Canun has returned to an extent that blood feuds have re-emerged. In some areas, such as Shkodra and northern Kukes, families reportedly are confined to their own homes to protect themselves during a feud. In these cases, friends and neighbors bring them food because the family cannot grow their own food or otherwise work while feuding.

“Despite the use of traditional Canun rules in some areas, most fis have adapted the Canun to better fit, in their view, the values of the modern era….

“Dispute Resolution and Other Functions

“… The need for such dispute resolution increased after 1990, due to new freedoms and disputes over property rights, just as the government’s ability to resolves such disputes began to decline…. According to an elder in Shkodra, ‘After 1990, conflict increased compared to the time of my father. The Communist regime caused many fights because it took land from its owners and distributed it equally to everybody, and encouraged people to construct houses on other people’s land….

albania’s committee of nationwide reconciliation estimates that there were ca. “10,000 murders for honour, blood feud and revenge between 1990 and 2009” in the country, although it’s difficult to know for sure what the real numbers are. i think it’s safe to say A LOT, though. the albanian tradition of gjakmarrja is basically an eye-for-an-eye moral system in which honor is all-important — the honor of the extended family. albanians (and other groups in the balkans) have for centuries had purpose built boltholes to hide in when they and their families were the objects of a blood feud (check out the border reivers’ bastle houses, too):

i think the long history and current prevalence of blood feuds in albania and throughout the region illustrates that greying wanderer’s characterization of the balkans as “full of people who hate the people in the adjacent enclosed ancient valley” is not far off the mark.
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interestingly:

“Source of Power

The principle source of power for a fis is its moral standing among the other fis. An elder in Shkodra says, ‘Our moral force and authority derive from good behavior.’ This moral standing is built over generations. Fis that historically have been strong are more likely to enjoy power now. An elder in Shkodra says, ‘Blood is never forgotten. Mother and father have one name. Blood has one name. After 20 or 100 years, the blood of mothers and fathers is not forgotten.’

Moral standing is judged according to the behavior of the members of a fis. Living according to the laws set by the fis, working hard, being kind and gracious to both neighbors and strangers, showing generosity to others, and having a family that is free of conflict are some of the criteria by which fis judge each other. An elder in Shkodra explains, ‘A good man, according to the Canun, is one who works, is wise, is loved by everybody, who does not humiliate anyone, and who pulls his family together. A bad man is one who does the opposite. The good fis are polite, have culture, and use common sense. A bad fis is not able to run its own affairs properly, let alone enjoy proper relations with other fis.’ An elder in Kukes, who asserts that his family is the ‘best’ fis in the community, describes similar criteria for judging a fis there: ‘My grandfather was known as the representative of the best fis in the village. Now we have 20 families in the village and maybe someone from our fis has committed some wrongs, but we still enjoy the reputation of our generosity and hospitality. For instance, if I see a stranger passing by on the road, I invite him to visit my home and have coffee with us. I preserve the reputation of the fis. When I visit my neighbor, I make a contribution. When he visits me, he makes a contribution. When someone asks to marry my daughter who does not come from a well-respected fis, I do not permit my daughter to marry that person.’

so, unlike in western europe where a man is judged by his character and behavior alone, amongst albanians (and i’m guessing other balkan populations) one’s moral character is all wrapped up with that of one’s extended family. this is something we hear throughout muslim societies in the arab world and middle east as well (e.g. all the honor killings) — not surprising when they are very inbred, too.
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Marriages among members of the same fis are not permitted, even when the two people are seven or eight generations removed. Because one must marry someone from another fis, all marriages involve fis politics. Marriage is very important to determining the stature of a fis in the community. Much time is spent determining the suitability of various suitors, based on the reputation of the fis and the perceived behavior of the prospective bride and groom. Because the reputation of the fis is important to power relations in the community, a woman has little influence in selecting her husband. According to an elder in Kukes, ‘Couples are engaged not through love, but through a mediator….”

since the ban on marrying relations within the fis only applies to paternal relations, it could very well be that albanians frequently marry maternal relatives — close or distant maternal cousins. i haven’t seen any info on this either way for albanians, but another balkan group — bosnian muslims — actually have a preference for marrying in-laws which includes maternal relatives. some albanians are christians (orthodox and roman catholic), so presumably they more-or-less follow the christian ban on marrying close cousins — as a general rule, that is — although all sorts of europeans regularly work around this. there should be no such cousin-marriage ban amongst albanian muslisms.

in any case, albanians are marrying (especially traditionally) very endogamously since they normally marry someone from a fis in the village or, perhaps, a neighboring village.
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onwards:

“Wariness of Other Groups

“The re-emergence of the fis highlights the importance of family structures in addressing problems formerly handled by government. But the importance of family is not limited to northern districts and Korca. People throughout the country feel that family affiliations is an important factor in choosing their friends and neighbors. Ethnic and religious affiliation also affect relationships within and between communities. As a result, these groups tend to be wary of each other. Table 12 details people’s attitudes toward their neighbors. [click on table for LARGER view]:

About 77 percent of people prefer that their neighbors are members of the same fis or family, with 59 percent strongly preferring it. About 52 percent prefer that their neighbors share the same religion, while about 44 percent prefer that neighbors are of the same ethnicity. It appears that family affiliation is more important than religion or ethnicity in determining feels [sic] about neighbors.

The civil society that either shares space with government or fills a vacuum left by government comprises a series of groups that are wary of each other and sometimes conflict. Consequently, there are few informal institutions, organizations, and networks that cross large geographic areas. Those that do exist, such as the emigration networks into Greece and Italy, are based on single extended families or single local communities. So while informal institutions and organizations are significant assets, they may be limited in their capacity to address problems across different families, religions, and ethnicities.”

like other clannish/tribal societies, albania doesn’t manage to have a civil society. not in the sense that nw europeans have. clannishness and tribalism seem to go along with inbreeding — either consanguineous and/or endogamous mating patterns — and i think the causation goes from inbreeding -> clannishness/tribalism (although certainly being clannish probably encourages further inbreeding). and the underlying mechanism is, as steve sailer pointed out ages ago, somehow related to kin selection and inclusive fitness.

albanians seem to be some of the most inbred peoples in europe — looking at their genomes, they have the highest frequencies of within-country “blocks of ibd” (identity by descent) as compared to other europeans which suggests to me that they’ve been inbreeding for a long time, too. that, i think, is part of the reason for the high ibd rates amongst albanians. given their history, then, it shouldn’t be surprising that they still are very clannish/tribal and don’t manage to build a civil society.
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see also:
Albania: Blood Feuds — ‘Blood For Blood’ (Part 1)
Blood feuds still boiling in Albania – feuding taken to a new level when a 17 year old girl is killed.
Ancient blood feuds cast long shadow over hopes for a modern Albania
Peacemaker breaks the ancient grip of Albania’s blood feuds
No way out
The Forgiveness of Blood – movie.
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previously: balkan endogamy

(note: comments do not require an email. albanians.)

pathogens and consanguinity and democracy

so at long last, the final point from the woodley & bell paper that i want to draw attention to (there are lots more neat points in the paper that you can read for yourself here): pathogens and consanguinity and democracy.

yesterday’s post was about how there seems to be some sort of a connection between the frequencies of pathogens in any given environment and consanguineous matings. it’s not the strongest of connections, but it seems to be there (i’m convinced anyway).

woodley & bell found that pathogen load does, indeed, have an impact on how (liberally) democratic societies are or not — but via consanguinity. there is a correlation between pathogen load and presence/absence/degree of democracy, but it’s not a direct one. here are their path analyses from their paper (more details in previous post). follow the arrows:

so it’s: pathogen load -> consanguinity -> democracy (or not).

i’d amend that a bit and say it’s: pathogen load + other social/economic factors -> consanguinity -> democracy (or not).

if i were to amend it even further in a theorizing sort-of way (that’s theorize with a small “t” not a big one), i’d say it’s:

pathogen load + other social/economic factors -> long-term consanguinity/endogamous matings -> democracy (or not) and/or a whole lot of other neat things like individualism and low levels of corruption and nepotism and so on and so forth.

that is all! (^_^)

previously: consanguinity and democracy and consanguinity and islam and democracy

(note: comments do not require an email. how to reduce pathogen load in the population.)