Marrying kin in small‐scale societies

American Journal of Human Biology Vol/Iss. 26(3) Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published In Pages: 384-388
By Walker, Robert S., Bailey, Drew H.


The authors examine degree of intensiveness (kin-relatedness) among foraging and agropastoralist societies, predicting that hunter-gatherers will pursue more extensive kinship networks in order to maximize residential options in the case of unpredictability or uneven geographic distribution of food resources. Support is found for the hypothesis, and it is suggested that while extensive fission-fusion dynamics are beneficial in foraging systems, the increase in cooperation in large-scale agricultural settlements is aided by norms which encourage kin marriage and relatedness.

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