When does matriliny fail? The frequencies and causes of transitions to and from matriliny estimated from a de novo coding of a cross-cultural sample

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Vol/Iss. 374(1780) Royal Society Publishing Published In Pages: 1-15
By Shenk, Mary K., Begley, Ryan O., Nolin, David A., Swiatek, Andrew


Diachronic lineage transitions within a society are more likely to move away from matriliny than toward matriliny (p. 11).


Although a statistical test was not run to test this hypothesis, the researchers estimated the proportion of SCCS societies that have transitioned away from matriliny as between 35.0% (in the most liberal tallies) and 13.3% (in the most conservative, societywide tallies). These results clearly suggest that transitions from matriliny have been relatively common in the period of time covered by the ethnographies coded. By contrast, we find evidence that only between 11.1% (in the most liberal tallies) and 1.6% (in the most restrictive, society-wide tallies) of societies show evidence of having transitioned to matriliny from another kinship system (p.11).


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
MatrilinyUNKNOWNRule Of Descent
Lineage TransitionsUNKNOWNHistory And Culture Change, Lineages