Marriage, authority, and final causes: a study of unilateral cross-cousin marriage

Sentiments & Activities Free Press Glencoe, IL Published In Pages: 203-256
By Homans, George C., Schneider, David M.


"Societies in which marriage is allowed or preferred with mother's brother's daughter but forbidden or disapproved with father's sister's daughter will be societies possessing patrilineal kin groups [matrilineal societies prefer FSD marriage]" (223).


When tested on Murdock's 15-society sample, there was a perfect correlation in the predicted direction. When retested with 33 societies, there were six exceptions; Fisher's exact test still found a significant relationship in the predicted direction.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Fisher’s exact testSupportedp<.01UNKNOWNUNKNOWN

Related Hypotheses

Main AuthorHypothesis
Flinn, Mark V.With marriage of the father's sister's daughter, father-to-son nepotism will also entail mother's brother (husband's father) to sister's daughter (son's wife) nepotism (240).
De Leeuwe, J."Homans and Schneider (1955) say that marriage partners are sought preferably within a group of which the head exerts no jural authority over ego. . . . Replication of the research [shows] that patrilineal societies [prefer] MBD but matrilineal societies don't prefer FZD" (82, 88)
Eyde, David B."Within the universe of matrilineal societies there is an association between Crow terminology and patrilateral cross-cousin marriage" (761-762)
Schlegel, Alice"I hypothesize that matrilateral cross-cousin marriage is associated with husband authority in the domestic group, and that patrilateral cross-cousin marriage is associated with brother authority in the domestic group" (10)
Stewart, Robert A. C.Findings: A factor analysis of key dimensions to describe a given culture yielded 12 factors. Factor 5, "matrilineal kin groups", loaded highly and positively on Crow-type cousin terminology; kin group matrilineal; community segmented on a clan basis; matrilocal marital residence; cousin marriage unilateral; codified laws present. Factor 5 loaded highly and negatively on kin groups patrilineal or double descent; marital residence patrilocal (59)