Coevolution of religious and political authority in Austronesian societies

Nature Human Behaviour Vol/Iss. 24 The Nature Publishing Group Published In Pages: 38-45
By Sheehan, Oliver, Watts, Joseph, Gray, Russell D. , Claessens, Scott, Ringen, Erik J. , Atkinson, Quentin D.


Using data from 97 Austronesian-speaking societies, this paper asks two research questions: 1) have religious and political authority co-evolved and 2) have the two institutions tended to become differentiated or unified? By applying phylogenetic methods, the findings show that in Austronesian societies, religious and political authorities are mutually interdependent; however, there is insufficient evidence to support any differentiation or unification of the two over time.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Ethnographic ReportsResearchers' ownEthnographic reports with information on Austronesian language family's phylogenetic relationships, derived from Gray et al. 2009 sample.
Gray et al 2009 sampleOther researchersReconstruction of 400 Austronesian languages.

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