Matrilineal descent in cross-cultural perspective

Matrilineal Kinship University of California Press Berkeley Published In Pages: 655-727
By Aberle, David F.


"We would expect matrilineal systems to be more frequent among the non-exogamous communities . . . And rarer among exogamous local untis . . ." (715)


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Chi squareSupportedp<.005UNKNOWNOne-tailed


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Community TypeAssociationCommunity Structure
DescentAssociationRule Of Descent

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Murdock, George Peter"In the presence of exogamous matrilineal or patrilineal lineages, sibs, phratries, or moieties, terms for lineal relatives tend to be extended, within the same sex and generation, to collateral kinsmen who would be affiliated with them under either unilineal rule of descent" (162)
Murdock, George PeterIn correlating descent with prevailing subsistence economy the distribution of cases refutes two evolutionary 19th century assumptions: 1) Matrilineal priority--there was only 1 case in 25 of matrilineal descent among hunter-gatherers 2) unilinear descent during the millenia when men subsisted by food-gathering in absence of agriculture and animal husbandry. 84 percent of hunter-gatherers are characterized by cognatic descent (275)
Murdock, George Peter"Exogamous matrilineal or patrilineal lineages, sibs, phratries, and/or moieties tend to be associated with kinship terminology of the bifurcate merging type" (164)
Murdock, George Peter"In the presence of exogamous matri-lineages, matri-sibs, or matri-moieties, unless exogamous patrilineal kin groups are also present, kinship terms for FaSi tend to extended to FaSiDa, and those for BrDa to MoBroDa" (166)
Whyte, Martin KingMatrilineal descent will be associated with higher status for women (33)