Kinship and polity in stateless societies

American Journal of Sociology Vol/Iss. 80 Published In Pages: 301-320
By Paige, Jeffery M.


This article suggests a theory of the relationship between rules of descent and polity structure. The author suggests that “polity structure in stateless societies is a consequence of the presence or absence of cohesive factions based on lineage or family” (301). Two types of kinship ties produce different polity structures: cross-cutting ties, common in matrilineal societies, lead to political consensus; overlapping ties, common in patrilineal societies, lead to factionalism. Empirical tests support this theory.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:mas Amelia Piazza