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.


Bilateral or ambilineal descent systems are likely to have less complex kinship systems than patrilineal or matrilineal ones (11).


Robust predictors = (-1.5>z>1.5). Z-scores listed below are in the following order: matrilineal, bilateral or quasi-lineage, duo or ambilineal, and mixed


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
UNKNOWNSupportedz-scores = -0.47, -7.2, -3.7, and -3.8UNKNOWNUNKNOWN

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Aberle, David F."Matrilineal systems are relatively more frequent in the 'dominant horticulture' category than either bilateral or patrilineal systems, at high levels of stratification. They are more commonly in the 'dominant horticulture' category than patrilineal systems at low levels; there is no significant difference between matrilineal and bilateral systems at this level" (698)
Murdock, George Peter". . . matrilineal extension [of incest taboos] is strongly associated with the presence of matrilineal kin groups, patrilineal extension with patrilineal kin groups, and extension in both directions with the presence of double descent" (307)
Aberle, David F.[Descent is related] ". . . to stratification. . . . Matrilineal systems tend to have hereditary, rather than complex stratification to a greater degree than . . . patrilineal and bilateral systems" (698)
Aberle, David F."If we compare 'dominant horticulture' with all [other subsistence types], we find that matrilineal systems tend to be found significantly more often in this category than either patrilineal or bilateral systems" (676)
Aberle, David F."Both matrilineal and patrilineal systems tend to cluster at the 'minimal state' level by comparison with bilateral systems, which tend to appear at the extremes of political scope" (684)