Archives for posts with tag: italy

…in ACADEMIA! heh.

in all likelihood, anyway:

“Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia”

“In Italy, nepotism is perceived as a cancer that has metastasized, invading many segments of society, including academia. The figure of the ‘barone’ (baron), the all-powerful senior professor who can, with a stroke of the pen, make or destroy careers, has permeated popular culture and is frequently represented in novels and movies. Nepotistic practices are especially damaging in a situation in which there are very few new positions (e.g. in Italy, for several years, all academic hires were put on hold). Despite legislative efforts aimed at eradicating nepotism, the general perception is that the practice is alive and well. The more blatant cases have gained the attention of the public, but the magnitude of the problem is unknown, as all the evidence is anecdotal….

“Recently, Durante et al. performed the first large-scale survey of co-occurrence of last names among Italian academics, and compared it with detailed geographical data on last name frequency. Their analysis showed that the degree of homonymity in academia is much higher than expected at random, especially in some disciplines and institutions. Moreover, they showed that a high degree of homonymity negatively correlates with several indices of academic performance. Although sharing last names does not necessarily imply family affiliation, it can be used as a proxy for nepotistic relations. If anything, the number of cases is going to be largely underestimated, as in Italy women maintain their maiden names, and children take their father’s last name. Thus, using last names one can detect nepotism associated with father-child and inter-sibling relations, but not mother-child cases and those involving spouses. Considering that in the sporadic documented cases the majority of hires involves spouses, and that women constitute about a third of the professors, one can conclude that such an analysis can detect roughly half of the cases of nepotism within the immediate family, not to mention lovers, domestic partners, pupils and more distant relatives….”

oops!

previously: inbreeding in italy and all i want for christmas

see also: chalk and cheese @those who can see.

(note: comments do not require an email. university of catania, sicily.)

“The End of Italy”

“Why should we be surprised Italy is falling apart? With dozens of languages and a hastily made union, it was barely a real country to begin with….

“It took four centuries for the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England to finally become one in the 10th, yet nearly all the territories of the seven states that made up 19th-century Italy were molded together in less than two years, between the summer of 1859 and the spring of 1861. The pope was stripped of most of his dominions, the Bourbon dynasty was exiled from Naples, the dukes of central Italy lost their thrones, and the kings of Piedmont became monarchs of Italy. At the time, the speed of Italian unification was regarded as a kind of miracle, a magnificent example of a patriotic people uniting and rising up to eject foreign oppressors and home-bred tyrants.

“However, the patriotic movement that achieved Italian unification was numerically small — consisting largely of young middle-class men from the north — and would have had no chance of success without foreign help. A French army expelled the Austrians from Lombardy in 1859; a Prussian victory enabled the new Italian state to acquire Venice in 1866.

“In the rest of Italy, the Risorgimento (or Resurgence) wars were not so much struggles of unity and liberation as a succession of civil wars. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had made his name as a soldier in South America, fought heroically with his red-shirted volunteers in Sicily and Naples in 1860, but their campaigns were in essence a conquest by northern Italians of southern Italians, followed by the imposition of northern laws on the southern state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Yet the southern city of Naples did not feel liberated — only 80 citizens of Italy’s largest city volunteered to fight for Garibaldi — and its people soon became embittered that the city had exchanged its role as the 600-year-old capital of an independent kingdom for the status of a provincial center. Today, its status remains reduced, and southern GDP is barely half what it is in the regions of the north….

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans. As many Italians cheerfully admit, their sense of belonging to the same nation becomes apparent only during the World Cup, when the Azzurri, the members of the national soccer team, are playing well….”

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jayman said: “M.G., I noticed that your map [of consanguinity rates in twentieth century italy] correlates very well with my map of IQs in Italy here, right down to the large difference between Friuli and Sicily.”

yes, they do correlate well. here is jayman’s map of iqs in europe (click on images for LARGER view):

and, for good measure, here is the reluctant apostate’s map of pisa scores in italy (pisa scores being a good proxy for iq scores):

and here is m.g.’s map of the average consanguinity rates (first-cousin marriage rates) for italy from 1930-1964:

so, yeah — in general, higher consanguinity rates in southern italy + lower iq/pisa scores. meanwhile, lower consanguinity rates in northern italy + higher iq/pisa scores. coincidence? maybe. but, you know, inbreeding depression and lower iqs….

jayman also said: “I wonder what would happen if we made a map of historical consanguinity for Europe as a whole.”

yes, please! or how about … the WHOLE WORLD! that’s what i’m asking santa for christmas this year, anyway — historical consanguinity data for all human societies. (just drop it in my stocking, santa. doesn’t need to be wrapped or anything! i’ve been a really good girl this year — i promise! (~_^) )

the data for consanguinity rates in italy came from cavalli-sforza and co. they collected dispensation records from the catholic church in italy, i.e. permissions granted by the church to cousin couples that wished to marry. cavalli-sforza, et. al., published data going back to 1910 — but they collected data as far back as 1780, but that hasn’t been published as far as i know. (d*mn!)

theoretically, there should be such data for all catholic countries in europe (and elsewhere?) going back — i dunno — for as long as they’ve been keeping records. there seems to be some civil records from the medieval period for parts of italy, too. the protestant nations are trickier since in many it has been ok to marry a cousin, so there are no dispensation records. (d*mn!) some protestant nations did have some anti-cousin marriage laws, though, and also kept really good records — like the efficient swedes. the eastern orthodox church? i don’t really know, but my impression is (after reading about mating patterns in greece) that there aren’t much of any records there, but i could be wrong. i really don’t know.

for anyone who’s curious about mating patterns in europe, you might want to skim through my Inbreeding in Europe series of posts (see links in left-hand column down below ↓). i’ve got some data posted here and there for some countries. there’s also my big timeline of european mating patterns, but that’s (*ahem*) very much a “work in progress.”

footnote: note that there are objections to richard lynn’s iq data as well as to using pisa scores as a proxy for iq scores. see the discussions in this comments thread as well as this one, and italianthro’s blog in general.

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no, i don’t know much about them, but via the italianthro blog, here’s a couple of charts from tian, et. al.’s European Population Genetic Substructure: Further Definition of Ancestry Informative Markers for Distinguishing among Diverse European Ethnic Groups (*whew*). northern italians are the little white triangles outlined in black — italians from the u.s., mostly southern italians, are the little yellow triangles outlined in black — and people from tuscany are the green diamonds with the dark green outline:

notice that there’s not much overlap between the northern italians, tuscans and southern italians. in other words, they’re different populations. they’re not wildly different populations — it’s not as if there were eskimos living in northern italy and australian aborigines living in southern italy — but they are different.

dienekes has found that there is a greater north african component (K=6) in southern italy/sicily than in northern italy:

and also that there is a greater northwest european component (K=10) in northern italy than in southern italy/sicily:

italianthro has objected to me having said about italy that there are: “different populations — broadly speaking, more germanic in the north, more greeks and arabs and others in the south.”

in one way he is correct — the genetic differences between northern and southern (and maybe central) italians is not due to just an influx of germanic, greek and arab genes into italy/sicily. i will readily admit to having been incorrect to put it like that. but there are genetic differences in italy’s population — the people living in italy/sicily are not entirely one people. the differences, tho, probably go back further than the arrival of the greeks and goths, so it was not right of me to just point to the german, greek and arab migrants, although they also contributed to the genetic differences that are found in italy today (for example).

that the genes of italians living in different regions of italy look somewhat distinct is the nature of genetics. if you compare my genome to my first-cousin’s, they’ll look rather different. but if you compare my genome and my first-cousin’s to an eskimo’s genome, then me and my first-cousin are going to look awfully alike.

tian, et. al., mentioned this about their italian samples:

“It also is worth noting that the inclusion of the Arab population groups results in larger separation between northern Italian and southern Italian (and/or Greek) subjects and suggests that inclusion of the Arab population genotypes may be useful in analyses of southern European population groups (data not shown).”

in other words, the southern italian samples were pulled farther away from the northern italian ones, towards the arab samples. that’s because there’s some amount north african/arab genes in the southern italy population — or, rather, that southern italians share genes in common with north africans/arabs.

when geneticists drill down further into italian genetics, they’ll no doubt find even greater differentiation; but at the same time, clearly italians are, on average, different from arabs or africans or eskimos.

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in looking for an explanation for why democracy today works better in northern as opposed to southern italy, putnam, et. al., point to the long history of civic behavior in northern italy, stretching back to the middle ages, in contrast to the feudal system of southern italy which lasted really into the 1800s [pg. 130]:

“In the North the crucial social, political, and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal, while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration, mutual assistance, civic obligation, and even trust — not universal, of course, but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era — were the distinguishing features in the North. The chief virtue in the South, by contrast, was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy.”

in other words, northern italy was full of republican communes, while the south was run from the top down by the monarch.

medieval communes were a type of corporate society, but you can’t have a corporate society if you have clans or tribes or any sort of extended families produced by extensive inbreeding. you need a good deal of outbreeding to get the republican communes that putnam talks about. you need to have a society full of individuals looking out for their own best interests, and those of their immediate family (wife, children), as opposed to a society of extended families or clans or tribes looking out for the interests of their whole group. then, because of the effects of inbreeding on the evolution of social behaviors, you get clan vs. clan, not individuals coming together in guilds to promote their profession or mutal aid societies.

so, what were the mating patterns of northern and southern italians during the medieval period?

i don’t have any info (yet) for southern italy, but samuel kline cohn, jr., in Marriage in the Mountains, 1348-1500 (pg. 174+), finds that the marriage system of the people in the areas surrounding florence was very exogamous in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries — a full three-quarters of the people married outside their parish, and just about half married beyond the pieve, a secular district larger than, and encompassing, the parishes. to me, that sounds potentially more exogamous than nineteenth and twentieth century rural greece in which the people had a preference for marrying within their village or to someone in a neighboring village. it was certainly much more exogamous than marriage patterns in twentieth century sicily and other parts of southern italy.

kline cohn doesn’t examine cousin marriages, but i think it’s safe to say that marriages over greater geographic distances (his “cross-boundary marriages,” for instance) are prolly unlikely to represent any close inbreeding. his data, btw, relates mostly to peasants:

pg. 192:

“The marriage records for the mountains of the early Renaissance in the territory of Florence do not highlight isolated communities, hollows of cultural and biological endogamy. Rather, it was in the plains near the city that one-third of those sampled married within their own parish….

“When the second geographical rung is considered — that of the pieve or the newer secular districts — little difference appears between these three regions. But a glance at a map shows that such intermarriages in the mountains could cover considerably more distance than in the smaller pievi of the plains surrounding the city of Florence….”

so, that’s one example of quite exogamous marriage patterns in northern medieval italy.

previously: democracy in italy

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from “Mafia and Blood Symbolism” by anton blok [pg. 120]:

“[Buscetta, a mafia guy] compares the ‘mentality’ of mafiosi in the United States with his own attitudes finding the younger generation more Americanized:

‘They always talked about the rights and obligations of the individual. It was almost an obsession. At home in Sicily this ‘individual’ did not exist. The ‘family’ came first before everything else. Also before the real family, that of blood.’”

sicilians, and southern italians in general, are quite inbred — especially compared to anglo-americans who have a long history of outbreeding and are the originators of these ideas about the “rights and obligations of the individual.” mating patterns — whether a population is inbred or outbred — affect the genetic relatedness between members of a population, strongly impacting on the prominence — or not — of the individual within a population.

bear with me a sec … this will feel a little weird seem a bit fanciful, but i’m going to attempt to illustrate what i mean.

here are two unrelated individuals, mr. blue and miss pink, come together randomly to mate (click on images for LARGER view):

and here is a representation of them with their offspring, mr. deep-blue, who has inherited half of his father’s chromosomes and half of his mother’s chromosomes. as you can see, he is a square just like each of his parents:

now, here are mr. blue and miss pink again come together to mate, but this time they are first-cousins, meaning they probably share (approximately) 1/8th of their genes in common. see? they overlap:

and now here they are with their son, mr. deep-blue. mr. deep-blue has still inherited one half of his chromosomes from each of his parents, but this time he has inherited some duplicate genes from both of his parents, i.e. the area where the two parental squares overlap:

notice that in the inbred scenario, mr. deep-blue square has shrunk in size. (actually, he’s not even a square anymore, is he?) he is not as large as mr. outbred deep-blue, who has inherited a greater number of unique genes since his parents are unrelated.

in a way, you could say that mr. inbred deep-blue is less of an individual than mr. outbred deep-blue — he is less of a unique individual, anyway.

now imagine what happens in a society where inbreeding is the norm and has occurred generation after generation after generation. you’re gonna have to imagine it, i’m afraid, ’cause i can’t draw it!

it’s not strange that the “‘individual’ did not exist” in sicily the way it does in the u.s. because the individual really doesn’t exist there. at least, not so much anyway.

previously: english individualism

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been reading robert putnam, et. al.’s “Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy” that i learned about via m.g. miles over @those who can see. (yes, that’s the “Bowling Alone” and E Pluribus Unum putnam. i have to say, the man has certainly done some very interesting research, despite the fact that he sometimes doesn’t like his own findings.)

in “Making Democracy Work,” putnam and his colleagues found that … gee whiz … democracy just works better in northern italy than in southern italy. way better, in fact. i haven’t finished the book yet, but the authors seem to put it down to the histories and political traditions of the two regions — and there is, of course, something to that. but there are even more obvious (at least to me), underlying, biological reasons that i think explain the differences: 1) different populations — broadly speaking, more germanic in the north, more greeks and arabs and others in the south; 2) the old iq differences; and 3) differences in mating patterns which, no doubt, affect social behaviors like trust. these biological aspects of the two(+) populations and their histories are all related — intertwined — next to impossible to tease apart.

i’ll write about putnam’s finding some more when i’ve finished reading the book, but for now, here are some teasers [pgs. 91, 94, 98-99]:

“The Civic Community: Testing The Theory

“Lacking detailed ethnographic accounts of hundreds of communities throughout the regions of Italy, how can we assess the degree to which social and political life in each of those regions approximates the ideal of a civic community? What systematic evidence is there on patterns of social solidarity and civic participation? We shall here present evidence on four indicators of the ‘civic-ness’ of regional life — two that correspond directly to Tocqueville’s broad conception of what we have termed the civic community, and two that refer more immediately to political behavior.

“One key indicator of civic sociability must be the vibrancy of associational life. Fortunately, a census of all associations in Italy, local as well as national, enables us to specify precisely the number of amateur soccer clubs, choral societies, hiking clubs, bird-watching groups, literacy circles, hunters’ associations, Lions Clubs, and the like in each community and region of Italy….

“Leaving aside labor unions for the moment, sports clubs are by far the most common sort of secondary association among Italians, but other types of cultural and leisure activities are also prominent. Standardized for population differences, these data show that in the efflorescence of their associational life, some regions of Italy rival Tocqueville’s America….

“Membership in sports clubs, cultural and recreational groups, community and social action organizations, educational and youth groups, and so on is roughly twice as common in the most civic regions as in the least civic regions….”

the most civic regions being in northern italy, and the least civic ones in the south.

“Although turnout itself in general elections is not a good measure of citizen motivation, one special feature of the Italian ballot does provide important information on regional political practices. All voters in national elections must choose a single party list, and legislative seats are allocated to parties by proportional representation. In addition, however, voters can, if they wish, indicate a preference for a particular candidate from the party list they have chosen. Nationally speaking, only a minority of voters exercise this ‘preference vote,’ but in areas where party labels are largely a cover for patron-client networks, these preference votes are eagerly solicited by contending factions. In such areas, the preference vote becomes essential to the patron-client exchange relationship.

“The incidence of preference voting has long been acknowledged by students of Italian politics as a reliable indicator of personalism, factionalism, and patron-client politics, and we shall shortly present additional confimation of this interpretation. In that sense, preference voting can be taken as an indicator for the absence of a civic community. Regional differences in the use of the preference vote have been highly stable for decades, ranging from 17 percent in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia [in the north] to 50 percent in Campanis and Calabria [in the south]….

“Regions where citizens use personal preference votes, but do not vote in referenda, do not join civic associations, and do not read newspapers are the same regions whose leaders [when asked by the researchers] describe their regional politics as clientelistic, rather than programmatic.

“Evidence from both citizens and politicians helps us trace the incidence of personalized patronage politics. Citizens in the less civic regions report much more frequent personal contact with their representatives than in the civic north. Moreover, these contacts involve primarily personal matters, rather than broader public issues. In our 1988 survey, 20 percent of voters in the least civic regions acknowledged that they occasionally ‘seek personal help about licenses, jobs, and so on from a politician,’ as contrasted with only 5 percent of the voters in the most civic regions.”

and, the inevitable godfather reference:

previously: democracy and endogamous mating practices and clientelism in greece

update 11/11: see also italian genetics

(note: comments do not require an email. why, yes, i am a little tired today now that you mention it.)

i’ve shamelessly lifted the map below from m.g. miles who found it in emmanuel todd’s, “L’invention de l’Europe”:

my question is, what the h*ck is fascism? something to do with:

a) being germanic
b) having a high average iq
c) being a “corporate” society (during hard times)
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

(note: comments do not require an email. fascist cat.)

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