where do clans come from?

in “Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations,” stanford economist avner greif wrote [pgs. 308-09]:

“There is a vast amount of literature that considers the importance of the family as an institution. Little attention, however, has been given to the impact of the family structure and its dynamics on institutions. This limits our ability to understand distinct institutional developments — and hence growth — in the past and present. This paper supports this argument by highlighting the importance of the European family structure in one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history and reflects on its growth-related implications.

“What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. Corporations are defined as consistent with their historical meaning: intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. Guilds, fraternities, universities, communes, and city-states are some of the corporations that have historically dominated Europe; businesses and professional associations, business corporations, universities, consumer groups, counties, republics, and democracies are examples of corporations in modern societies….

“In tracing the origins of the European corporations, we focus on their complementarity with the nuclear family. We present the reasons for the decline of kinship groups in medieval Europe and why the resulting nuclear family structure, along with other factors, led to corporations. European economic growth in the late medieval period was based on an unprecedented institutional complex of corporations and nuclear families, which, interestingly, still characterizes the West. More generally, European history suggests that this complex was conducive to long-term growth, although we know little about why this was the case or why it is difficult to transplant this complex to other societies….

“The conquest of the Western Roman Empire by Germanic tribes during the medieval period probably strengthened the importance of kinship groups in Europe. Yet the actions of the church caused the nuclear family — consisting of a husband and wife, children, and sometimes a handful of close relatives — to dominate Europe by the late medieval period.

The medieval church instituted marriage laws and practices that undermined kinship groups…. The church … restricted marriages among individuals of the same blood (consanguineous marriages), which had historically provided one means of creating and maintaining kinship groups….

“European family structures did not evolve monotonically toward the nuclear family, nor was their evolution geographically or socially uniform (Greif, 2006, chap. 8).** By the late medieval period, however, the nuclear family was dominant. Even among the Germanic tribes, by the eighth century the term ‘family’ denoted one’s immediate family and, shortly afterwards, tribes were no longer institutionally relevant. Thirteenth-century English court rolls reflect that even cousins were as likely to be in the presence of nonkin as with each other. The practices the church advocated (e.g., monogamy) are still the norm in Europe. Consanguineous marriages in contemporary Europe account for less than 1 percent of the total number of marriages, in contrast to Muslim and Middle Eastern countries where such marriages account for between 20 and 50 percent per country (Alan H. Bittles, 1994). Among the anthropologically defined 356 contemporary societies of Euro-Asia and Africa, there is a large and significant negative correlation between the spread of Christianity (for at least 500 years) and the absence of clans and lineages; the level of commercialization, class stratification, and state formation are insignificantly correlated (Andrey V. Korotayev, 2003).”
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the presence (or absence) of clans in societies is somehow connected to the mating patterns of societies. in fact, it seems to be that a whole range of kinship-based societal types is somehow connected to a whole range of mating patterns: the “closer” the mating patterns in a society, the more “clannish” it tends to be — the more distant the mating patterns, the less “clannish.”

so we see a spectrum of “clannish” societies ranging from the very individualistic western societies characterized by nuclear families and, crucially, very little inbreeding (cousin marriage, for instance) to very tribal arab or bedouin societies characterized by nested networks of extended families and clans and large tribal organizations and having very high levels of inbreeding (specifically a form of very close cousin marriage which increases the degree of inbreeding). falling somewhere in between these two extremes are groups like the chinese whose society is built mostly around the extended familiy but in some regions of china also clans — or the medieval scots (especially the highland scots) whose society for centuries was built around the clan (h*ck, they even coined the term!). these “in-betweener” groups are, or were, characterized by mid-levels of inbreeding (typically avoiding the very close cousin marriage form of the arabs).

furthermore, not only do the degrees of extended family-ness/clannish-ness/tribal-ness in societies seem to be connected to the degrees of inbreeding in those societies, the degrees of “clannism” also seem to be connected to the degree of inbreeding — the more inbreeding, the less civicness, the less democracy, the more corruption, and so on.

it’s not clear what exactly the mechanism(s) behind this inbreeding-leads-to-clannishness pattern is, but since mating patterns are involved, and mating is a very biological process, it seems likely (to me anyway) that the explanation is something biological — i.e. some sort or sorts of evolutionary process/es — like natural selection — resulting in different/different degrees of behavioral traits related to “clannism” in different populations with inbreeding acting as a sort of accelerant for those processes.

clans and clannism, then, are not things that peoples “fall back on” in the absence of a state as mark weiner suggests in The Rule of the Clan [kindle locations 106-108]:

“[I]n the absence of the state, or when states are weak, the individual becomes engulfed within the collective groups on which people must rely to advance their goals and vindicate their interests. Without the authority of the state, a host of discrete communal associations rush to fill the vacuum of power. And for most of human history, the primary such group has been the extended family, the clan.”

rather, people’s attachments to their extended families/clans/tribes — and, more importantly, their tendencies towards clannish behaviors — are likely innate behaviors. and those behaviors likely vary, on average, between populations since (long-term) mating patterns have varied — and, indeed, still vary — between populations.

such innate behaviors cannot be changed overnight — certainly not within a generation or even two (evolution does take some amount of time — but not, necessarily, extremely long amounts of time either) — and definitely not by simply changing a few laws here and there in the hopes of encouraging individualism. as avner greif grasped, although probably not fully because he’s likely missed the underlying biology of what he’s noticed, family structures need to be altered in order to effect changes to larger societal structures (again, all via tweaks to innate behavioral tendencies). and, again, that can’t be done overnight — as greif pointed out, the process in europe began in the early medieval period (with the church’s bans on cousin marriages) and didn’t really start to take hold until the late medieval period — i.e. a 500 year (or, conservatively, a ca. 25 generation) timeline.
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see also: Cousin Marriage Conundrum by steve sailer and Why Europe? by michael mitterauer (in particular chapter 3) and Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade by avner greif.

**see “mating patterns in europe series” in left-hand column below ↓ for further details.

(note: comments do not require an email. busy clan members.)

the zadruga

at the beginning of the year, i wrote a post about mating patterns in eastern europe in which i mentioned the zadruga as being a general slavic family form. szopeno took exception to that — and he was right!

i’ve done some more reading about eastern european — in particular balkan — family types, and, as far as i can tell, the only consensus amongst historians and social scientists wrt the extreme extended family form known as the zadruga is that there is noooo consensus about the zadruga. it is (or was) a family form amongst southern slavs — i.e. not all slavs — but also amongst other balkan peoples like the vlachs as well. the zadruga apparently wasn’t found everywhere in the balkans or at all times — but here’s something interesting from Entangled Paths Toward Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans (2009) [pg. 149]:

“Zadruga is the popular term used to describe the complex (exteded and multiple) family. The term itself is quite recent, its institutionalized usage dating from the nineteenth century. There is a long-standing historiographical discussion on almost all aspects of the zadruga, its status, origins and function. For a long time a ‘nativist’ historical approach, cogently supported by ethnographic and folklore studies, treated the zadruga as a perennial phenomenon (dating from the Middle Ages) and pertaining specifically to Slavic and Balkan civilization. Most recent scholarship has heavily contested not only the ‘from time immemorial thesis,’ but also the ‘all Balkan’ and the ‘specifically Slavic’ thesis. Zadruga zones in the nineteenth-century Balkans were unevenly distributed, showing a concentration in the mountainous stockbreeding area between the valleys of the Sava and Morava, the northwestern part of the Balkan range, that is, the mountainous territories between Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and the Rhodope, the tribal regions of Montenegro and Northern Albania, while valley belts were present in the military frontier of Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina, some valley of Serbia, Western and Central Albania, Southern Macedonia and Southern Albania. The presence of the zadruga thus can be evidenced only for some Balkan territories, and not all exclusively Slavic (ex. Albania or Southern Hungary). In Bulgaria it was concentrated in the most western part of the country, it was almost completely absent from Romania and Greece.”

ah ha! so we’re back to (possibly/probably inbreeding) uplanders being clannish or tribalistic.

here’s an extended excerpt from Household and Family in the Balkans: Two Decades of Historical Family Research at University of Graz (2012) [pgs. 50-51 — links inserted by me]:

Both the Balkan joint family [i.e. the zadruga] and the patrilineage emerged first as results of pastoral economies and the patriarchal influence of Illyrian cultural legacy. (In part, the comparable culture of the Central Balkans is an autonomous development.) After the Roman conquest of the Illyrian lands these features were preserved by Albanian and Vlach nomads. They were later joined by Slavic groups who followed them into the uplands. What we have here is a phenomenon within limits of an adaptive strategy based on both ecological factors and predatroy expansion.

“The idea of a relationship between pastoralism and the existence of both the joint family household and the patrilineage is not new. [no, it is not. – h.chick] Todorova describes the highest concentration of joint family households in Western Bulgaria in regions with a large area of meadows and a developed pastoral economy (Todorova 1990: 18-19). Earlier, Mosely stated that, in general, the joint family had shown a greater viability in the mountainous regions of the Balkans than in the plains (Mosely 1976a: 31). Filipovic notes, the ‘appearance and persistence of the zadruga as an institution originated in connection with livestock herding’ (Filipovic 1976: 273). While Mitterauer states that the distribution of the joint family households is basically confined to mountainous, remote regions where a money economy and forms of wage work played a lesser role, he also suggests that a pastoral economy might have promoted the emergence of complex family structures (Mitterauer 1980: 67-69).

“The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans from the 14th to the 16th centuries was generally accompanied by massive migrations of the Balkan people in a variety of directions. Reconstruction of the migration movements is difficult, but the main direction was from south to north following the pattern of conquest. Pastoralists or semi-pastoralists, recently settled, rediscovered their former survival strategies. The mountain regions became repopulated (Cvijic 1922: 127-181). Generally, the Ottoman administration did not absorb the mountain dwellers…”

so, no state to put a damper on violent behaviors.

“…and so they independently developed appropriate social structures and concomitant survival strategies based on the patrilineage and patriarchal joint family.

“The joint family, like the lineage of which it was a part, was never static but underwent fissioning following the dynamics of the life course and family cycles. The tribal lineages constructed of these joint families were reinforced by their focus on shared sentiment and ritual. Thus the Balkan joint family became the basic unit for patrilineal tribal lineages that developed from the 14th centrury onward….”

the opposite process, really, of what happened in medieval nw europe.

“…This system was flexible enough to adapt to the bilaterally based kindred of Vlachs and Sarakatsans. [remember that the pre-christian germans — including the anglo-saxons — reckoned their kinship bilaterally as well. — h.chick] At the same time, this plasticity enabled the individual household to create cyclical alternations of nuclear and joint family households depending on fertility, fission and fusion (Halpern & Anderson 1970: 83-97). In this way these units also functioned for settled agriculturalists….”

this reminds me of the settled farmers of pakistan and afghanistan who adopted the arab mating pattern of father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage — a practice which grew out of the arab (or levantine) pastoralist traditions, but which was exported — along with (i think) all the related tribalistic sentiments which (i also think) develop, in part, because of the inbreeding — by the arabs to south asia when they invaded the region. i’m also reminded of the upland “auvergnat pashtuns” of france.

“…What characterized patriarchal Balkan social structure, as the pioneering works of Cvijic illustrated, was the constant interrelationship between becoming settled farmers and/or pastoralists. Until the 19th century this was a reversible process. This ended with the spread of industrialization, urbanization, and the modern states. It is thus much more logical to assign the origin of the Balkan joint family to the goat- and sheep-keeping families of the mountains that to see it as a result of conditions in the plains. But the fact is that many joint families resided in the valleys and plains.

How then did patriarchal joint family and patrilineage emerge in the plains? For centuries pastoral families of the mountainous regions migrated into the plains where they settled. In the generally chaotic situation caused by the Ottoman conquest not only did Slavic families flee to the mountains, but others, especially those of the Vlachs, left their mountainous homelands and settled in Ottoman-occupied territories. The valleys of Serbia, Bosnia, and, especially along the borders between the Ottoman and the Habsburg empires, were favoured sites.

hmmmm. time to google for a good map….

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe and balkan endogamy and more on albanians and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

(note: comments do not require an email. a zadruga.)

familism, justifiability of divorce, and corruption

following up from the last post on familism and corruption (familism, respect for parents, and corruption), here is the second element in lipset & lenz’s “familism index”: “the percentage of people [responding on the world values survey] who think that divorce is unjustifiable.” i looked at the 1999-2002 world values survey wave. the relevant question is:

“Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between: Divorce.”

i took the “Never justifiable” responses and plotted them against the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index results — and got a correlation of -0.58. not as high a correlation as between “respect for parents” and corruption (-0.72), but still pretty high. so the more you feel that divorce is unjustifiable whatever the circumstances, the more corrupt you’re likely to be (click on chart for LARGER view):

here’s the data table for the above chart sorted by the “Never justifiable” responses (highest to lowest). i’ve got the fbd marriage groups (the arabs & co.) in red, and the european groups that i think have been outbreeding for the longest (netherlands, germany, great britain, belgium and france) in blue (click on table for LARGER view):

again, italians and the irish in ireland more familistic on this scale than the people in great britain. and mexicans MUCH more so.

previously: familism, respect for parents, and corruption and familism in the u.s. of a. and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and hispanic family values and familism and facebook

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

familism, respect for parents, and corruption

m.g. points out (thanks, m.g.!) that in “Corruption, Culture, and Markets,” lipset & lenz worked up a “familism index.” unfortunately, they don’t seem to have published it anywhere — at least not that m.g. or i can find. they do describe it in the above mentioned chapter, though, along with a terrific summary of familism and its related … problems. here is a longish quote from them [pgs. 119-120 – links and emphases added by me]:

“Amoral Familism

“The second major cultural framework, one derived from Plato via Banfield, assumes that corruption is in large part an expression of particularism — the felt obligation to help, to give resources to persons to whom one has a personal obligation, to the family above all but also to friends and membership groups. Nepotism is its most visible expression. Loyalty is a particularistic obligation that was very strong in precapitalist, feudal societies. As Weber implied, loyalty and the market are antithetical. The opposite of particularism is universalism, the commitment to treat others according to a similar standard. Market norms express universalism; hence, pure capitalism exhibits and is sustained by such values.

“Plato contended two and a half millennia ago that family ties, especially those between parents and children, are the chief forces underlying institutionalized social classes and ascription. He argued that to create an egalitarian society, a communist one, such ties — the family itself — would have to be eliminated. Children would have to be reared from birth in public institutions, not knowing their parents. Plato, of course, could not have believed that a society without parental ties was viable, but his discussion points up the social power he attached to the family.

“In trying to understand capitalism’s initial rise in Protestant cultures, Weber noted that the pre-industrial norms in Catholic societies were communitarian, requiring above all that the society, the family, and the dominant strata help the less fortunate. He believed that these vales worked against the emergence of a rationally driven market economy. Conversely, a stress on individualism, concern for self, is more conducive to capital accumulation. Calvinism and Protestant sectarianism fostered such behavior. Sectarians believe that God helps those who help themselves. Weber pointed out that ‘the great achievement of … the ethical and ascetic sects of Protestantism was to shatter the fetters of the sib [the extended family].’ As Lawrence Harrison notes, ‘There is evidence that the extended family is an effective institution for survival but an obstacle to development.’ Solidarity with the extended family and hostility to the outsider who is not a member of family, the village, or perhaps the tribe can produce a self-interested culture.

“Edward Banfield, studying southern Italy, carried the analysis further with the concept of ‘amoral familism’: a culture that is deficient in communitarian values but fosters familial ties. He writes: ‘In a society of amoral familists, no one will further the interest of the group or community except as it is to his private advantage to do so.’ There is little loyalty to the larger community or acceptance of behavioral norms that require support of others. Hence, familism is amoral, gives rise to corruption, and fosters deviance from norms of universalism and merit. Anything goes that advance the interests of one’s self and family. The Mafia is an extreme example of amoral familism. Banfield, in effect, argues that corruption in southern Italy and comparable traditional societies is an expression of forces similar to those that sustain the Mafia.

“The World Values Survey 1990, together with aggregate statistics from the World Bank, provide data that we employ to create a scale of familism. The first item in the scale deals with unqualified respect for parents, measured by the percentage of people who agreed that regardless of the qualities and faults of one’s parents, a person must always love and respect them. The second item is the percentage of people who think that divorce is unjustifiable. The third, from the World Bank, is the mean number of children per woman.

Those nations that score high on this scale tend to be among the more corrupt. Known for their strong familial ties, most Asian nations rank among the more corrupt. On the other hand, Scandinavians are by far the lowest on the familism scale — as noted, these countries are considered the least corrupt. Regression analysis affirms the association. The familism scale and CPI relate strongly. The relationship remains significant when controlling for per capita income. A model that includes the familism scale, the achievement scale, and purchasing power parity explains a great deal of the variation in the CPI.”
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i don’t think that what we’re witnessing here — the differences between particularistic and universalistic societies — is a cultural phenomenon. i’m sure that cultural practices reinforce the behaviors that you find in these two types of societies, but what i think we’re looking at are innate behavioral tendencies that differ between these different population types due, in part, to their mating patterns histories. it’s partly mating patterns (inbreeding or outbreeding) and partly selection for which of these sets of behavioral traits worked in the various populations’ evolutionary histories (the two things are connected, i think).

lots of inbreeding over the course of many, many generations alters the relatedness between family members which, in turn, can eventually — via a little evolutionary magic — affect how altruistic these family members wind up being towards one another and/or towards unrelated individuals. so the english and other nw europeans, with their (comparatively) long history of (comparatively strong) outbreeding (see mating patterns in europe series below ↓ in left-hand column), tend towards universalism, lack of familism, low levels of corruption, high levels of civicness and liberal democracy. at the opposite end of the spectrum, arabs and other middle eastern/maghrebian/mashriqian/south asian muslims with their (comparatively) long history of (comparatively strong) inbreeding (see also here), tend towards particularlism, strong familism, high levels of corruption, low levels of civicness and difficulties with liberal democracy.

familism, then, i think — although interesting in and of itself — is a symptom of a set of underlying innate behavioral traits, namely those connected to familial altruism. the more “genes for familial altruism” (whatever they might be) your population possesses, the less universalistic, etc., etc., it is going to be — and vice versa. familism reflects another aspect of human biodiversity, and is not just an example human cultural diversity.

(sorry if i sound like a broken record, but there’ve been some new folks stopping by here lately — hi, new folks! — and i thought they might appreciate a crash course on The Theory.)
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so, lipset & lenz hinted around at a familism index that they had devised, but not published anywhere(?), so i thought i’d try to reconstruct it as best as i could. the first element in their index is “unqualified respect for parents, measured by the percentage of people who agreed [on the world values survey] that regardless of the qualities and faults of one’s parents, a person must always love and respect them”. lipset & lenz looked at the world values survey for 1990 — i looked at a more recent wave: 1999-2002. the question is:

With which of these two statements do you tend to agree?:
A. Regardless of what the qualities and faults of one’s parents are, one must always love and respect them.
B. One does not have the duty to respect and love parents who have not earned it by their behaviour and attitudes.

i took the “A. Always” responses and plotted them against the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index results — and got a correlation of -0.72 (so the more you feel you should always love/respect your parents no matter how horrible they are, the more corrupt you’re likely to be – click on chart for LARGER view):

here’s the data table for the above chart sorted by the “Always” responses (highest to lowest). i’ve got the fbd marriage groups (the arabs & co.) in red, and the european groups that i think have been outbreeding for the longest (netherlands, germany, great britain, belgium and france — there might be a few more that need to be included — like the swedes?) in blue (click on table for LARGER view):

note that the italians exhibit much more familism (79.40%) on this scale than the population of great britain (65.10%) and are also more corrupt (3.9 on the cpi versus 7.8 for the british). this appears to support what i found in my familism in the u.s. of a. post the other day — that italian-americans are more familistic than anglo-americans. (see this post for some recent history on inbreeding in italy.)

similarly, the irish (in ireland) respect their parents no matter what more than the british (71.90% vs. 65.10%), but they’re not at all as corrupt as the italians (7.5 on the cpi). and the roman catholic irish in the u.s. are more familistic than anglo-americans. (see this post for a brief history of inbreeding/mating patterns in ireland.)

and mexicans! 90.20% said they’d respect their parents no matter what. 3.0 on the cpi. and very familistic in the u.s. (see this post for a little info on the history of inbreeding/mating patterns in part of mexico.)

these, i think, are innate, not just learned, feelings (reinforced by cultural practices, i’m sure), and they’re not going to change anytime soon as shown by the fact that italian- and irish-americans are still very familistic despite living amongst the anglo-americans for several generations now.

previously: familism in the u.s. of a. and anglo-american vs. mexican family values and hispanic family values and familism and facebook
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edit – see this comment below for explanation:

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

familism in the u.s. of a.

following up from yesterday’s post, i thought i’d look at familism in some other ethnic groups in the u.s. in addition to the anglos and mexicans.

again, i’m looking at how much contact the individuals from different groups have with family members. this is a way of measuring “behavioral familism” — familism “expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties”. this time i stuck to just extended-family members (aunt/uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins) ’cause i thought that might be more telling — if you’re in regular contact … a LOT … with these more distant relatives, you’re probably familistic. that’s my thinking, anyway.

looked at the following questions from the 2002 general social survey:

“How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”
“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”
“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

the possible answers were:

“More than twice in last 4 weeks.”
“Once or twice in last 4 weeks.”
“Not at all in last 4 weeks.”
“I have no living relative of this type.”

i’ve collapsed the first two together to make the responses sorta “yes” or “no” (contacted x in the last 4 weeks). i also skipping the “no living relative” answer. if you’re dying to see all data, i can post it.

the variables chosen were: COUNTRY OF FAMILY ORIGIN, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT UNCLES OR AUNTS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT NIECES AND NEPHEWS, HOW OFTEN DOES R CONTACT COUSIN, and for the irish RELIGION IN WHICH RAISED to try to distinguish the scotch-irish from roman catholic irish. none of it is perfect, i know, but you gotta work with whatcha got.

the countries with a good-sized data set (n≧50) were: england & wales (the “anglos” – n=96), italy (n=53-54), scotch-irish (protestant irish – n=51), and germany (n=150). the mexicans (n=32) and irish catholics (n=42-43) came up a little short, but i’ve included them anyway. keep in mind that the numbers for those two groups are kinda low.

without further ado (click on charts for LARGER views)…

“How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”

“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”

“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

as you can see, in each of the three categories, all of the other groups are in contact with their distant-ish relatives more than the anglos — except for the scotch-irish who appear to behave the most like the anglos here. mexicans are much more likely to keep in regular contact with their aunts/uncles or nieces/nephews than anglo-americans (53% vs. 32% and 75% vs. 48% respectively), but italian-americans are also much more likely to keep in touch with their aunts/uncles on a monthly basis (47%). the roman catholic irish, too, more familistic than anglo-americans — and even german-americans, except for the keeping-in-touch-with-nieces/nephews category, appear to be more familistic than anglo-americans.

so much for assimilation.

remember that familism goes hand-in-hand with fun things like corruption.

i also think it’s kinda neat to see that the familism goes more in the direction of the genetic flow than not: greater contact by aunts/uncles to nieces/nephews than the reverse, for instance. cool.

previously: anglo-american vs. mexican family values

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

anglo-american vs. mexican family values

one of the ways to measure familism — behavioral familism (familism “expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties”) — is to find out how much contact the individuals in a given population have with their various family members: brothers, sisters, aunt, uncles, cousins, etc.

so i checked out the 2002 general social survey in which they asked questions like…

how often do you contact your cousin?”

…for the results for people whose family origins came from england or wales (“anglo-americans”) and from mexico. (i dunno how “anglo” some people from wales are, but what can an hbd chick do? gotta work with the data available.) obviously there’s no time depth here: the people with family origins from england — well, their families might’ve come over on the mayflower, or the gss people could’ve been interviewing the derb for all i know! same goes for the mexicans — could be recent immigrants, or fourth generation mexican-americans in new mexico.

unfortunately, the sample sizes for mexicans are on the small side — n=27-32 — so … grain of salt! the numbers for anglo-americans are better: n=80-96. here are the results (blue=anglos, orange=mexicans — click on charts for LARGER views):

Consider your favorite brother or sister – how often do you visit this brother or sister?

on the whole, mexicans are more likely to have more frequent person-to-person contact with their favorite sibling than anglo-americans, although the “daily” score is pretty close. no anglo-americans said that they lived with their favorite sibling, whereas 10% of mexicans in the u.s. said so.

Consider your favorite brother or sister – how often do you contact this brother or sister via telephone or letter? (remember: this is 2002.)

again, the general pattern seems to be more frequent telephone calls/correspondence between mexicans and their favorite sibling than with anglo-americans and theirs. twice as many mexicans responded “less often” than anglo-americans, but maybe ’cause that’s ’cause they actually see their favorite sibling so often. -?-

this pattern of mexicans having more contact with their family members than anglos becomes more pronounced/clearer to see with the more distant family members…

“How often do you contact your uncles/aunts?”

“How often do you contact your nieces/nephews?”

“How often do you contact your cousin(s)?”

now i’m curious to check out other ethnic groups…. (^_^)

previously: hispanic family values

(note: comments do not require an email. my favorite mexican.)

hispanic family values

lots of conservatives (rinos in particular maybe) like to talk about how great hispanic/mexican family values are, and what a wonderful addition these will be to american society (never mind the sky-high illegitimacy rates in the hispanic community) — but what these so-called conservatives don’t understand is that hispanic/mexican family values are different from our (well, your, if you’re a wasp that is) family values.

it’s called familism (familismono kidding!) — and hispanics/mexicans got it in spades [pg. 314 – pdf]:

Familism can be defined as a social pattern whereby individual interests, decisions, and actions are conditioned by a network of relatives thought in many ways to take priority over the individual. This social pattern manifests itself through three dimensions: (1) the attitudinal, expressed in dispositions, values, and beliefs that prioritize the welfare of the family; (2) the behavioral, expressed in everyday actions, or major decisions, informed by one’s attachment to family ties; and (3) the structural, expressed in the spatial architecture of family networks (Steidel and Contreras 2003; Valenzuela and Dornbusch 1994). Researchers from several disciplines have observed that familism is an important component of Hispanic culture (Okagaki and Frensch 1998; Oyserman, Coon, and Kemmelmeier 2002). At the attitudinal level, Hispanic adults and adolescents value interdependence, as well as family support and obligations, more so than whites (Fuligni, Tseng, and Lam 1999; Harrison et al. 1990; Sabogal et al. 1987). At the behavioral level, Hispanics report higher degrees of familial cohesion and intimacy than whites (Niemann, Romero, and Arbona 2000; Sabogal et al. 1987) and assist family members in instrumental ways more so than whites (Sarkisian, Gerena, and Gerstel 2006). And at the structural level, Hispanics, and Mexican Americans in particular, live in larger and denser kinship networks than whites (Sarkisian et al. 2006; Valenzuela and Dornbusch 1994).”

well, that all sounds great — and it is, in its own way — but what it isn’t is anything like the anglo/anglo-american family tradition which is based upon the nuclear family and the individualism of its members, a societal structure that appears to go right back to the thirteenth century (see also here and here). if someone says to you “hispanic family values,” you should absolutely not picture in your mind june and ward cleaver along with wally and the beav — and, maybe, uncle billy coming over for thanksgiving dinner every other year.

no. hispanic/mexican familism (and, of course, there is a lot of variety here — latin america is a big place) means a lot of extended family — and, for whatever reasons, a lot of extended family obligations. which is also fine — but there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and if you’ve got obligations to your immediate family AND your tío jorge and all his kids, and your tía rosa and all her kids, etc., etc., there’s simply going to be less time in your day to devote to other things like the broader community. as someone who comes from a large clan (52 first cousins!), i know this to be true — there’s just not a whole lot of spare time for anything other than family (except you guys, of course! (~_^) ).

“but won’t hispanics quit being so extended-family oriented once they assimilate to american culture, hbd chick?”

i dunno. and neither does anyone else.

there are some indications that the amount of some aspects of familism is lower among hispanics/mexicans raised in the u.s. than their immigrant parents, but not all aspects — and all of these familism metrics remain higher in hispanic groups than for white americans. (what would be interesting to know is how much familism there is in the new mexican hispanic population. i couldn’t find anything on that anywhere — might try to dig some data up from the gss myself….)

i’m of the opinion that the development of strong feelings towards one’s extended family (or not) is a question of evolution, so changing those feelings, afaics, ought to take some time. the english (see links above or the “mating patterns in europe series” below ↓ in left-hand column) have had a loooong history of individualism and nuclear families, a process which started, i think, in the early medieval period with the bans on cousin marriage by the roman catholic church. mexicans, and other hispanics, have had a very different evolutionary history when it comes to family feelings and cohesiveness.

the colonial mayans, for instance, had close, endogamous mating patterns — and they lived in extended-family settlements, just as their pre-columbian ancestors had done, indicating that extended-family-ness in mayan society goes way back [pgs. 368-369]:

“[T]he Mayas divided up house-plots or treated contiguous plots as one so that what might have officially been nuclear families living on separate house-plots were really multiple-residence extended-family household complexes. Not only have such patterns of residential clustering survived to the present in much of Mexico, but they have been observed by archaeologists for a number of pre-Columbian Maya sites — most notably Coba, Dzibilchaltun, K’axob, Mayapan, and Tikal….

“[A] typical grandfamily household might occupy adjacent house-plots and its member frequent the neighboring plots of related households of the same patronym-group or alliance of patronym-groups.

“The free movement of family members and animals between plots symbolized the blurred lines between separate and joint…. To avoid cutting up parcels of land … Mayas made use of the parallel principle of multial, ‘joint ownership.’ Typically then, a plot of land was placed in the hands of a representative of the household or, in the cases of large cultivated plots, the patronym-group….

“Because those household members who lived on or from a plot of land were in some sense considered its joint owners, family members effectively held shares in such property, which they then left to successive generations.”

the spanish tried to break down these extended family units by forcing the natives to register their houses/lands according to nuclear family units (eg. one house with a certain amount of acreage connected to it), but as restall describes above, the maya simply worked around these bureaucratic nuisances. what needed to be done, of course, was to ban close marriages in the new world — but that was too much of an imposition on all those potential new world recruits that the church so desperately wanted to harvest, so they gave much of latin america a (beyond first cousin) cousin marriage dispensation in 1537 (including mexico, i think, but i do need to double-check that).

aztec society was structured quite differently from that of the maya, but from what i understand (so far) about the aztecs, extended families and “clans” (calpulli) were also very important there. (i’ll get back to you on aztec society when i get through reading more about them!)

in any case, hispanics/mexicans are still devoted to their extended families. not that there’s anything wrong with that! except that familism does tend to go along with some other, undesirable societal features like corruption (see lipset and lenz) — fyi, mexico ranked #100 in transparency international’s 2011 survey.

true conservatives would hold off on inviting tens of millions of people from a very differently behaving population into this country — at least until we understood something of why the behaviors differed.

previously: mating patterns in colonial mexico: the mayans

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

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….

**textbox**
“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
**close textbox**

“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.)