Social Practice and Shared History, Not Social Scale, Structure Cross-Cultural Complexity in Kinship Systems

Topics in Cognitive Science Vol/Iss. . Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published In Pages: 1-22
By Rácz, Péter, Passmore, Sam, Jordan, Fiona M.


Researchers examined kinships terminology systems for explanations regarding specifically observed typology of kin terms for cousins cross-culturally. They explore two theories, the first relating to population size via bottleneck evolution, and the second relating to social practices that shape kinship systems. Using the Ethnographic Atlas within D-PLACE, 936 societies with kinship system information were studied. The findings did not suggest a relationship between increased community size and a decrease in kinship complexity, however the research does suggest a relationship between practices of marriage and descent and kinship complexity.

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