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well! i’m making progress on reading avi tuschman‘s very interesting Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us [see previous post] — ’bout halfway through now (on chapter 11 out of 23). it’s not actually a difficult book to read, it’s just that real life keeps getting in the way of my virtual one (d*mnit, i hate when that happens!).

tuschman is interested in finding out the personality and behavioral traits underlying liberal and conservative political orientations AND the evolutionary bases for those traits. i’m all for that!

while he does draw on all sorts of research into the differing personality/behavioral traits of liberals and conservatives — and those interested in hbd will be familiar with most of them, like for instance that conservatives tend to be more religious — the main framework that tuschman bases his ideas upon is robert altman’s bob altemeyer‘s “right-wing authoritarianism (RWA)” personality theory, a whole construct that, up until the other day, i knew nothing about. you can read all about the RWA scale on wikipedia.

here from tuschman [chapter 5 – my emphases]:

“Altemeyer’s test consists of thirty controversial statements. Figure 10 breaks down the content of these statements into six categories. Each bar represents one of these content categories and shows the percentage of the thirty statements that makes reference to it.

tuschman - figure 10

“The six content categories, in turn, can be lumped into three larger groups: the grey cluster, the black cluster, and the white cluster. The three categories within the grey cluster are ethnocentrism, religiosity/group morality, and sexual tolerance. These are the three elements that comprise the ‘tribalism‘ cluster of personality traits.

“The two categories in the black cluster measure tolerance of inequality: the first concerns attitudes toward inequality and authority in society, while the second category pertains to inequality and authority within the family.

“The white personality cluster has only one category, which measures perceptions of human nature.”

these three larger groups — tribalism, tolerance of inequality, and perceptions of human nature — are the foundations of tushman’s “personality argument”:

“Human political orientation across space and time has an underlying logic defined by three clusters of measurable personality traits. These three clusters consist of varying attitudes toward tribalism, inequality, and different perceptions of human nature.

“These three factors correspond, of course, to the grey, black, and white color groups in figure 10. To go into slightly greater detail:

– Tribalism. Tribalism breaks down into ethnocentrism (vs. the opposite force, xenophilia, which means an attraction to other groups), religiosity (vs. secularism), and different levels of tolerance toward nonreproductive sexuality.

– Tolerance of Inequality. There are two opposing moral worldviews toward inequality; one is based on the principle of egalitarianism, and the other is based on hierarchy.

– Perceptions of Human Nature. Some people see human nature as more cooperative, while others see it as more competitive.”

most of the book is devoted to looking in depth at these three factors and how their various facets correspond to either liberal or conservative personalities. tuschman’s approach is very systematic (i like it a lot!): one section (containing several chapters), for instance, deals with how the different feelings of tribalism play out in human societies, and then the following section (also containing several chapters) deals with the likely/possible evolutionary underpinnings of those feelings/behaviors. this format is repeated for all three factors.

i’ll probably discuss some of these factors — and what tuschman has to say about them — individually in later posts (don’t want to discuss them all, though — mustn’t give away the plot of the book! (~_^) ). but first i want to back up for a sec and discuss altemeyer’s right-wing authoritarianism stuff, since tuschman’s framework is primarily based upon that — although, as i said, he does draw a LOT of evidence from other sources as well.

altemeyer’s RWA work (and this is just a hoot to read about!) is based upon the previous work of theodor adorno (frankfurt school), et al., who wanted to find out why some people became nazis (real nazis in wwii). they devised an “f(ascist)-scale” and everything. their work was later heavily criticized. (see also “The Authoritarian Personality.”)


altemeyer’s new-and-improved authoritarianism scale — which, like its predecessor, only focuses on conservatives — apparently has three “clusters” of personality traits which are summarized thusly [chapter 4 — tuschman references altemeyer’s Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism]:

(1) Authoritarian Submission — a high degree of submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives;

(2) Authoritarian Aggression — a general aggressiveness, directed against various persons, that is perceived to be sanctioned by established authorities; and

(3) Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the social conventions that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.

heh! well, i’m sorry, but — and this, no doubt, reflects my own somewhat conservative personality and biases — but the first group of people that i thought of on reading that description was today’s politically correct liberals! the militant ones, i mean.

“high degree of submission to authorities who are perceived to be established/legitimate?” who? like st. stephen jay gould? or jared diamond? or richard dawkins? (pardon my focus on academics there, but that is the universe that i inhabit. well, one of them!)

“general aggressiveness, directed against various persons, perceived to be sanctioned by est. authorities?” what? like watsonings? or richwinings? or derbyshearings?

“high degree of adherence to the social conventions?” all of political correctness!

and if we are to think about authoritarianism and politics and the sorts of political regimes that are authoritarian in nature — and supported by the hordes — sure there are right-wing examples like nazi germany and franco’s spain, but what about stalin’s russia and mao’s china?! not to mention east germany (where the stasi chief even had an actual room 101!).

i’m sorry, but i can’t help but think that authoritarianism — including personality types that favor authoritarianism — also occurs on the left. a ten-second google search shows me that left-wing authoritarianism has both been researched and found to exist — something which tuschman, unfortunately, doesn’t mention in the book.

the authors of The Presence of Left-Wing Authoritarianism in Western Europe and Its Relationship with Conservative Ideology found authoritarian traits — measured by willingness to use violence (aggression) and needing to obey left-wing leaders (submission) — in extremist left-wingers in belgium (flemish belgium) in the country’s communist party, but especially in the country’s stalinist(!) party. (interestingly, the members of an anarchist movement in the nation who were studied were not authoritarian in nature.) from the paper:

“The present results suggest the presence of authoritarianism among Western European adherents of extreme left-wing parties. Particularly the adherents of the Stalinist party obtained high LWA scores. So, it seems that we achieved in finding ‘the Loch Ness Monster of political psychology.’ The LWA scale not only proved to be successful in distinguishing anarchists and extreme left-wingers from the other ideological groups (the authoritarian aggression facet is most fruitful for this purpose), but also in distinguishing extreme left-wingers from anarchists (the authoritarian submission facet is most fruitful for this purpose). The discriminatory power to distinguish between left-wing extremists, anarchists, and other ideological groups underscores the validity of the aggression and submission facet scales. However, these results also make it clear that the presence of LWA in Western societies seems to be limited to very specific political movements that do not elicit much support in the mass public.”

the presence of left-wing authoritarianism might be limited in western european societies, but you find much more of it in eastern europe! from Left-wing authoritarianism is not a myth, but a worrisome reality. Evidence from 13 Eastern European countries:

“Using representative samples the relationship between authoritarianism and political preferences was examined in 13 excommunist Eastern European countries. Employing six different indicators of left-wing/communist political orientations made clear that, despite cross-national differences, left-wing authoritarianism is definitely not a myth in Eastern Europe….

“Interesting is also the intra-regional variation regarding the relation between authoritarianism and political ideology.”

i feel a hajnal line map coming on. (~_^)

“In Bulgaria and Russia, for example, authoritarianism is consequently linked with communist/political left-wing preferences regardless of which indicator is used; while in a country like Hungary almost no evidence was found for left-wing authoritarianism. This is in line with Todosijevic and Enyedi’s (2008a) conclusion that leftist authoritarians do exist in Hungary, but they are few and their presence is overshadowed by the authoritarianism of the anticommunist right. Also Enyedi et al. (1997) conclude that the phenomenon of left-wing authoritarianism, though present in Hungary, is less significant than its rightist counterpart….

“[A]uthoritarians in Central and Eastern European countries embrace communist principles and that they hold negative attitudes towards democracy….

“The existence of left-wing authoritarianism has been debated for about six decades. Many authors believed that authoritarianism is essentially a right-wing phenomenon. Most of the evidence comes from studies conducted in Western countries; while the members of the American Communist Part have always been treated as highly deviant (Krugman, 1952). Also Altemeyer (1981) described radical leftists in countries like Canada and the United States as not submissive to established authorities and not conventional. Therefore we believe that the fact that thus far not a lot of evidence is found for left-wing authoritarianism is not due to nonexistence of left-wing authoritarianism, but is due to the fact that we have not looked at the right places.

i’m not sure, yet, what the existence of left-wing authoritarianism — and the fact that tuschman didn’t include it in his book — means for tuschman’s model of our political natures. i need to finish reading the book first — and to think more about it all, too. one thing is certain: i’m more than a bit dubious about using the right-wing authoritarianism model as a basis for looking at the differences between liberals and conservatives. i fear too many things might be missing from that picture, as is evidenced by the two random studies on left-wing authoritarianism that i pulled off the internet.

previously: our political nature and human biodiversity and well this sounds familiar…

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from sam worby’s Law and Kinship in Thirteenth-Century England [pgs. 1-2 – link and emphases added by me]:

Charles Donahue Jr’s magisterial comparative study of marriage in England, France and Belgium has confirmed a remarkable pattern of family interaction for England. His thorough and statistical analysis of the surviving records of cases before the archbishop of York’s consistory court in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and Ely consistory court between 1374 and 1381, incidentally seems to confirm that there was no clan or corporate kinship system operating in the areas covered, and, by inference, in England more widely (given the consistency of results between the two evidence sets). There was, he shows, even relatively low levels of parental involvement in marriage choice. Given the importance of marriage as a social institution and the potential consequences flowing from choice of partner — in property, alliance and social standing for example — it seems remarkable that an average of only 37 per cent of York cases showed evidence of parental involvement. While there was evidence for arranged marriages in the records of both courts, many couples appear to have acted independently. Whether this is qualified as ‘astonishingly’ or ‘unusually’ individualistic, the fact remains that many couples operated with relative freedom within the scope of the canon law marriage rules.

This individualistic pattern confirms a picture of family interaction for England found elsewhere, through evidence of marriage patterns, but also more broadly. From the Anglo-Norman nobility to later medieval peasants, the picture is of a limited family (although this book will not in fact focus on peasant kinship, but rather on kinship insofar as it was a general structure, transcending class and status). The extended kindred did not live together; the typical co-resident family appears to have been nuclear. There is evidence of kin interaction, particularly suggestive of closeness between siblings. There is a broad consensus about the narrowness of the operative kin group in England. It was rarely much larger than the immediate family, mostly the co-resident nuclear family, with some obligations and traceable contact extending out to cousins, and some closeness to siblings and occasionally to uncles and aunts. This pattern is unusual in comparison to other areas of Europe. It is suggestive to note that Franco-Belgian courts showed evidence for a higher level of family involvement in marriage arrangements. It is also striking to contrast the pattern of relatively informal clans able to act together in some European countries, such as Italy.

previously: english individualism and english individualism ii and invention of the modern world

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i was googling something about ireland and tribes and clans for my last (why so) serious post, and came across this: Galway – City of the Tribes. heh! who knew?

they weren’t really tribes, tho, but extended mercantile families who ran the show in galway during the medieval period — until cromwell kicked them out, that is. there were fourteen of these “tribe” families — twelve were of anglo-norman origin and two of irish origin.

i don’t actually know for sure, but i betcha these fourteen “tribes” married and re-married each other over and over again. keep the money and power in the extended families, of course. i base this guess on what i read about the ruling oligarchy of medieval brussels…

tumbling down the rabbit hole that is wikipedia, i followed a link from the fourteen tribes of galway page (divided by two) to the seven noble houses of brussels page:

“The Seven noble houses of Brussels were the seven families of Brussels whose descendants formed the patrician class of that city, and to whom special privileges in the government of that city were granted until the end of the Ancien Régime…. All the members of the city council were exclusively recruited and elected from among those families who could prove patrilinear or matrilinear descent from the original seven families.”

these seven noble houses of brussels, in turn, reminded me about…

“Age, marriage, and politics in fifteenth-century Ragusa” (ragusa’s in sicily present-day dubrovnik!, btw). as in medieval brussels, you had to be a (male) member of one of these patrician families in order to be on the governing council of ragusa. here’s a taste of what these families’ mating patterns looked like [pgs. 102-104]:

“Marital Alliances Among the Casate [Ruling Houses]

“What was the significance of the casata for the marriages of its members? If marriages were arranged with a view towards their political usefulness and if the casata acted as a unit in political affairs, then we would expect to see evidence of casata involvement in arranging marriages…. [The researcher looked at] all marriage occurring between 1400 and 1520….

“[L]et us begin by examining marriages of the largest casata, the Goce. There were 207 Goce patrician marriages between 1400 and 1520 of which 191 were between the Goce and twenty-eight other casate. Eight were endogamous marriages between Goce sections. Like most of the larger casate within the patriciate, the Goce spread their marriages widely. This might be expected from the large number of Goce who married, the patriciate’s relatively small size and the Church’s restrictions on close kin marriage. But if the casate tended to spread their marriages broadly, that did not mean that they spread them evenly or in similar fashion.

“To study patterns of marriage alliance, a matrix of all marriages between casate was constructed. This information, however, is difficult to interpret because the casate differ so considerably in size and in the number of their marriages. One is more likely to marry a Goce than a Bocinolo, other things being equal, because there are many more Goce available for marriage than there are Bocinolo. Furthermore, we find that the Goce did not marry into eight casate. Since these were amongst the smallest of the casate, it is difficult to know whether this absence should be taken as an indication of dislike or simply lack of opportunity.

“To make allowance for the differences in numbers of persons marrying, the following procedure was adopted. First, it was assumed that if casata affiliation were not an important consideration in marital choice, then any individual male would be equally likely to marry any other individual female. On this basis the expected number of marriages between casate was calculated. Then the difference between the expected number of marriages and the actual number was calculated. A zero difference would indicate that the number of marriages which occurred between two casate was just about what would be expected on the basis of chance. A relatively large positive number would indicate an attraction between casate whereas a large negative one would indicate indifference or aversion….

If we examine the total number of marriages, it is possible to discern some clustering of allied casate. At the centre of one web of intermarrying casate are the Sorgo, one of the largest casate. They exchange with the Grade and Zamagna in fifteen and twelve marriages, respectively. The Grade and Zamagna also exchange with one another. These three casate are strongly interlinked by marriage ties and I shall refer to them as the Sorgo triangle. The Sorgo are also linked to the Caboga through seven marriages, but the Caboga show no special relationship with the other two Sorgo partners, the Grade and Zamagna. The Caboga have two marriages with the Zamagna, less than would be expected by chance, and the nature of their tie with the Grade is very one-sided. All the Caboga/Grade marriages involved Caboga women marrying Grade men.”

the author then goes on to outline all the other repeat marriage alliances between other ragusa casate, but in the interest of sparing your sanity, i won’t reproduce all those paragraphs here. (i think you get the gist from looking at just one of the casata’s connections.) but here’s a nifty diagram he drew up showing the marriage connections between the households:

the point is, the ruling families of medieval ragusa kept their wealth and their political power in the patrician families simply by marrying one another over and over again. some had greater alliances with certain families than others, so no doubt this produced some rifts within the ruling family class. but most importantly, they generally did not marry outside of their class.

you would think that, looking at this all from an inclusive fitness p.o.v., the patrician families might start to look after themselves more than they did the common folk of ragusa, since over the centuries they inbred with one another, somewhat closing themselves off genetically from the — you know — riff-raff.

more from david rheubottom [pgs. 106-107]:

“In a small community such as patrician Ragusa, one might expect to find inter-linking through marriage occurring over time. While there is no evidence that the Ragusans prescribed marriage partners in the sense introduced by Levi-Strauss, there may be regularities over time in the exchange of partners. In the discussion of societes complexes elaborated by Heritier, it has been hypothesized that people may be inclined to marry the nearest relative available beyond the prohitied degree. This suggestion has been the centrepiece of Delille’s historical analysis of the repeat marriages in the Kingdom of Naples from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries and his claim that such marriages constitute an intermediate type between elementary and complex marriage systems (1985). This work is important not merely because it confronts conventional wisdom about South Italian kinship, but because it redirects anthropological attention to the possible linkage between marriage systems and larger kinship groups.

“We have seen that the age difference at marriage militates against direct exchange between sibling groups. [It was customary for Ragusan sisters to marry before their brothers, so men tended to marry at a later age than women.] But the same age differences might have another consequence. According to Heritier’s hypothesis, the closest descendants of a common ancestor that might marry would be cases where a groom marries his MMBDD [mother’s mother’s brother’s daughter’s daughter!, i.e. his second-cousin]. Given the age differences we have examined, such a marriage would occur when the linking ancestors (the groom’s mother’s mother and her brother) would be about 69 years old. The next most likely marriage would be between a man and his FMBSD [father’s mother’s brother’s sister’s daughter, i.e. another second cousin]. In this latter case the linking relatives (the groom’s father’s mother and her brother) would be about 84 years old at the time of marriage. Also in this latter case the bride’s casata and the groom’s paternal casata would be identical.

“Using genealogical records in the database, it is possible to trace back through the ancestors of both bride and groom to search for common ancestors. Taking the marriages which occurred between 1440 and 1490, I have attempted to trace the ancestry of both bride and groom through five generations. The depth of the genealogical data does not permit fruitful searches beyond this limit. It was possible to search for linking relatives for the partners of 345 marriages. Looking particularly for possible links in the generations between the ascending (the grandparental generation) and the fifth generation, the groom potentially has eighty possible ancestors whom he might share with his bride. In practice the number of possible links is much less because of gaps in the genealogical records. This number of gaps increases as one goes back in time.

Of the 345 marriages studied there are only sixty-three (18 per cent) in which there is an identifiable linking relative. It is surprising how few marriages show a linking relative although the small number may be due to lacunae in the genealogical database. The second surprise is that among those who are linked, no dominant pattern emerges. Significantly, given Heritier’s hypothesis, where linking relatives exist there are no cases where that relative is either the MMBDD or the FMBSD. The set of linking relatives are a very mixed (genealogical) bag.

“Following the conventions established by French studies of consanguine marriages where the numbers refer to ascending links to the common ancestor (the groom being given first), the most common link is between grandchildren of first cousins (4-4, with 27 instances). The next is 3-4 with 19 instances followed by 5-4 and 4-5 (with 9 and 8 instances, respectively). These, in turn, are followed by 3-5, 4-3, 5-5-, and so on. Since couple are linked in more than one way, the number of links is greater than the number of couples. But this material does not show any evidence of intermediate marriage systems in Ragusa such as those suggested by Delille for the Kingdom of Naples.

so, to translate, some of the members of the medieval ragusan ruling families were marrying distant cousins, but generally ones beyond the degree of second cousin. unlike in the kingdom of naples, many other ragusans did not marry even distant relatives, altho the researcher is not 100% certain about that. so, some ragusan ruling families were keeping it in their own family — but in their distant family.

i wonder what the mating patterns of the medieval brusseleer(?) ruling families and galway “tribes” were?

finally, luke mentioned the other day the “cousinocracy” of virginia. -!- i hadn’t heard about that before, so after i did a little googling, i found out that virginia’s cousinocracy pretty much consisted of the first families of virginia:

“First Families of Virginia (FFV) were those families in Colonial Virginia who were socially prominent and wealthy, but not necessarily the earliest settlers. They originated with colonists from England who primarily settled at Jamestown, Williamsburg, and along the James River and other navigable waters in Virginia during the 17th century. As there was a propensity to marry within their narrow social scope for many generations, many descendants bear surnames which became common in the growing colony….

The reins of power were held by a thin network of increasingly interrelated families. ‘As early as 1660 every seat on the ruling Council of Virginia was held by members of five interrelated families,’ writes British historian John Keegan, ‘and as late as 1775 every council member was descended from one of the 1660 councillors….’

“The intermarriages between these families meant that many shared the same names, sometimes just in different order — as in the case of Lt. Col. Powhatan Bolling Whittle of the 38th Virginia Infantry, Confederate States of America, the uncle of Matoaka Whittle Sims.”

interesting! keeping it in the family even in these united states. a couple of the cousinocracy familes are, btw, carter and lee.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

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see also: Horseback shrimp fishing fades in Belgium

via mefi.