Culture statistics resources

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Chuma
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Culture statistics resources

Post by Chuma »

I remember a few years ago a page someone here linked to, with lots of statistics on how different traditional cultures do things. Like, how common is patrilocality and matrilocality, what are the most common tasks for various age groups, and so on. Sadly I must have lost the link somewhere in the Fog of Web. Does anyone have it?

And while we're at it, any other similar resources, about features of large numbers of cultures, how common they are and perhaps where? Something like a WALS for cultures?

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by mouse »

I'm pretty sure I'd posted this on here long ago, I don't think the same website you were talking about, it still has similiar type information you might find useful, although mostly on gender roles:
http://books.google.fr/books?id=7co0qho ... &q&f=false
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Chuma »

It is possible that I am in fact talking about
http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/wor ... oAtlas.pdf

Unfortunately there are no explanations, and some of the alternatives look like serious misprints. Like, on the question whether a culture was included in Summary Atlas Volume 1967, the possible answers are "Yes", "No", and "Plaster, clay, mud and dung, or wattle and daub".

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Torco »

this is made of win

EDIT: we should make a challenge to see if people know enough of their cultures to answer the survey, this is, to provide an answer to all those categories.

EDITEDIT: what? they have the original datases available for download ?
*jizzes in pants*

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by TomHChappell »

Chuma wrote:It is possible that I am in fact talking about
http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/wor ... oAtlas.pdf

Unfortunately there are no explanations, and some of the alternatives look like serious misprints. Like, on the question whether a culture was included in Summary Atlas Volume 1967, the possible answers are "Yes", "No", and "Plaster, clay, mud and dung, or wattle and daub".

Yes, that's in variable 89.
And variable 19 refers to "patrilineal" when they pretty clearly mean "matrilineal", and variable 20 refers to variable 17 when it pretty clearly means variable 19, and so on.
Variable 43 (Descent) has value 9, "agriculture contributes most", which is apparent nonsense.
Variable 81 asks about "fired brink" where they probably meant "fired brick".
Variable 91 doesn't seem to cover the whole world. Where's the rest of Europe, the part that's not "circum-Mediterranean"?
And I'm not sure variable 92 completely covers each of the areas Variable 91 does cover.

Does someone know whether variable 95 and 96 completely cover the types of climates and environments Humans inhabit on RL Earth? I'm not qualified to comment; it looks like it could be complete, but if it isn't, I can't tell; nor could I tell if it were.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In spite of any flaws it has, this is probably very useful. In case one of your societies falls into one of this system's flaws, it should be possible to figure out a way to fix that.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wasn't able to look closely enough long enough to comment.

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Salmoneus »

YES!

I remember this, and a year or two ago I asked if anyone knew where to find it, but nobody did. Thank you so much, this is a great resource.

A lot of it's quite eye-opening, in terms of preconceptions.

- For instance, 840ish societies with payment to wife's family in marriage, only 33 with dowries.
- ~600 polygynous, ~450 monogamous with some polygyny, ~200 monogamous, 4 polyandrous.
-~250 primogeniture, only 16 ultimogeniture
- premarital sex for women: ~150 virginity, ~170 weak or conditional virginity, ~200 freely promiscuous

Torco: datasets? where?
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Torco »

It really catches my eye that hunting is apparently never a female-only activity... It seems to support the meme that "in ancient societies men hunted while women gathered" to a degree, especially considering women are physically perfectly able to hunt... maybe not macrofauna, but hey, there's not that much macrofauna going around, I imagine most hunting is of small game, like birds and shit.

Sal: If you have some version of SPSS, or R, and know how to use either, you could go here http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/courses/sccs.zip

[got the link accesing the linked pdf's mother folder]

If you don't, I can export it into Excel or CSV and post it to googlesites or something for everyone's convenience.

I can't wait to correlate the shit out of this one :D

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by alice »

Torco wrote:I imagine most hunting is of small game, like birds and shit.


Why would you need to hunt shit? Did it tend to move around by itself when we were still hunter-gatherers, or something? Did that change with the agrarian revolution?
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Torco »

Literal interpretation of profanity jokes... I think you can do better ;)

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Astraios »

Torco wrote:It really catches my eye that hunting is apparently never a female-only activity... It seems to support the meme that "in ancient societies men hunted while women gathered" to a degree, especially considering women are physically perfectly able to hunt... maybe not macrofauna, but hey, there's not that much macrofauna going around, I imagine most hunting is of small game, like birds and shit.
Apparently Lakota/Dakota women hunted, but less than the men. Is it like this by many others?

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

It is pretty common in most hunter gatherer cultures yes.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Curan Roshac »

Radagast wrote:It is pretty common in most hunter gatherer cultures yes.


I wonder what the underlying cause would be for this effect. Most "answers" that are given to the aforementioned meme strike me as conjectural at best.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Shm Jay »

Nancy Blackett wrote:Why would you need to hunt shit? Did it tend to move around by itself when we were still hunter-gatherers, or something? Did that change with the agrarian revolution?


It was more difficult to find, since the animals were not in a central location to provide a convenient source. Many animals hide their feces.

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

Curan Roshac wrote:
Radagast wrote:It is pretty common in most hunter gatherer cultures yes.


I wonder what the underlying cause would be for this effect. Most "answers" that are given to the aforementioned meme strike me as conjectural at best.


I think the simple cause is "ethnocentrism".
[i]D'abord on ne parla qu'en poésie ; on ne s'avisa de raisonner que long-temps après.[/i] J. J. Rousseau, Sur l'origine des langues. 1783

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Curan Roshac »

Saying that seems just as disingenious to me as blurting out an ethnocentrism.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

And why is that? (btw I don't think "disingenious" means what you think it means)
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Curan Roshac »

To not contribute to derailing this thread, can you explain over PM what you understand "disingenious" to mean? I understand it to mean reflexive and underthought.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Torco »

Curan Roshac wrote:To not contribute to derailing this thread, can you explain over PM what you understand "disingenious" to mean? I understand it to mean reflexive and underthought.


doesn't it mean like lacking in sincerity?

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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

I think it means something like "giving an insincere appearance of cooperativeness or interest while concealing an ulterior motive that is in fact contrary to that which one gives the appearance of having." - similar in meaning to being "facetious"

I have heard some people using it to mean the opposite of "being a genius" - i.e. "stupid" - you seemed to use it to mean that, and I don't think that is standard usage. (also I don't see how "underthought" and "reflexive" are similar in meaning - do you mean "unreflexive"?)


But the question was why do you think saying that ethnocentrism is the cause of people assuming that the division of labour between the sexes is the same in all cultures as it happens to be in theirs is "underthought"?
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Salmoneus »

"Disingenuous" means giving a false appearance of being ingenuous. Ingenuous is lacking in deception, innocent, straightfoward, unsophisticated, without ulterior motives, perhaps even naive. So disingenuous is presenting what you're saying as simple and straightforward and meaning just what it says, when in fact you have an ulterior motives. Common examples are in socratic irony (where I pretend to agree with something while "accidentally" demonstrating the flaws in it), bluffing (where I pretend to think something is secure when I know it is weak) and dogwhistling (where I say anything while pretending not to notice any further political connotations, while "accidentally" gaining the support of extremists). I think the key is pretending to do or say or imply something accidentally, or pretending not to know something that you do in fact know.

So Torco is right that disingenuity involves lacking sincerity, in one sense of the word. But it's a more specific insincerity - and it also doesn't cover the wider range of the words "sincere" and "insincere". One might call Socrates sincere, for instance, while still believing him to be disingenuous.

"Facetious" is very different. Like disingenuity, it is a species of irony, but it is closer to sarcasm than disingenuity. Unlike disingenuity, facetiousness is an overt irony - disingenuous assumes deception (although it's not essential - you can be disingenuous even when you know people will see through it, and even if you want them to see through it), while facetious assumes understanding (although it's not essential).

The core of facetiousness is jest. Being facetious is making a joke, and specifically a witty one. However, the focus has moved to the fact that facetious jokes are often more about the wit of the joker than about the situation, so there's an element of egotism to it.

I'd say that to be facetious nowadays, you have to (inclusively):
a) say something for your own amusement
b) mock someone else, or at least assert your intellectual superiority over them
c) pretend to be serious

Most kinds of ironic play are thus facetious, but in practice the word is generally derogatory - it implies a lack of sophistication, and particularly a degree of childishness.

Of course, if you're facetious while pretending not to be, you are also being disingenuous! And if you're disingenuous for the purposes of your own amusement, you're probably being facetious.

--------------------

I don't understand what point Rad is making. How does ethnocentrism explain why women don't hunt as much as men? Ethnocentrism relates to the relation between societies, not within societies. And if you're saying that WE'RE being ethnocentric, I'm not sure how, since most of us don't have hunting and gathering as economic occupations to have ethnocentric ideas about the division of labour regarding.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by su_liam »

Sincerity. Learn to fake it and you can do anything.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

Salmoneus wrote:I don't understand what point Rad is making. How does ethnocentrism explain why women don't hunt as much as men? Ethnocentrism relates to the relation between societies, not within societies. And if you're saying that WE'RE being ethnocentric, I'm not sure how, since most of us don't have hunting and gathering as economic occupations to have ethnocentric ideas about the division of labour regarding.


That men don't hunt as much is not the point that was asking for explanation. What was asking for explanation was the common belief that most societies naturally divide labour so that men hunt and women gather. That belief is clearly based in ethnocentrism and is demonstratedly false. And before you now go on to say that there was never such a belief and that we have known for a long time that women also hunt in some societoes I will preemptively retort that there quite clearly has been such a belief and that only through ethnographic research in the 60'es and seventies was it dispelled - although its demise has not yet made in into the general public who continue to believe that gender roles are much more universally invariable than what is supported by ethnographic data.

It is however true that the fact that still remains to be explained is still why women hunt less than men. The reason it hasn't been explained is again ethnocentrism which has assumed that this is simply a natural fact of existence which doesn't need further explanation.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Salmoneus »

I don't understand. How does this answer the question of why women often hunt less than men? Or why typically men preferentially hunt and women preferentially gather? You say that "What was asking for explanation was the common belief that most societies naturally divide labour so that men hunt and women gather", but I don't see where in the thread anyone asked for an explanation for that. [And "ethnocentrism" fails miserably as an explanation for that anyway, since Western society doesn't divide labour into hunting for men and gathering for women]

In fact, I'm triply puzzled:
a) you seem to want to talk about why people believe a thing rather than why the thing is the case;
b) your proposed explanation is in any case i) unfalsifiable, being equally able to explain anything, ii) unsupported by any evidence and prima facie highly improbable, and iii) fails entirely to explain the phenomenon under discussion (to some extent "ethnocentrism" may be an answer to why people think that it's natural for men to work and women to not work, or, if we include for men to obtain and women to process, but certainly not, in the west, for men to hunt and women to gather!);
c) in the process, you state that the belief is demonstratedly false, while seeming accepting the facts that demonstrate that it's true! You said yourself, indeed, that it being true was "pretty common" in hunter gatherer societies (and surely nobody's ever claimed this putative principle was 100% universal!).

And indeed the evidence supplied so far goes further: out of 855 societies in which hunting was important, 841 of them had hunting as a male-only activity, and 14 of them had hunting as a preferentially male activity. None had a bias toward women in hunting. Zero.

Similarly (but to a lesser degree): out of 470 societies, 246 had gathering female-only, and 129 female-mainly, alongside 59 egalitarian, and only 36 preferentially or only male.

For the sake of simplicity: that's a 100% of societies with a male sex bias for hunting, and 80% with a female sex bias for gathering (with most of the remaining 20% being egalitarian rather than male-bias).

That looks like pretty good prima facie evidence for the idea that "most" societies naturally divide labour this way. Which rather does away with the need to explain why many believe this. [Indeed, since our society doesn't act like this, and most do, the belief that most do is doubly inexplicable through 'ethnocentrism']

Now of course, you may have better evidence than the Ethnographic Atlas. But the convention is that if one person puts forward evidence, you put forward your own, or you at least say what's wrong with the evidence put forward... you don't just sit silently as the evidence is presented and then carry on as though it doesn't exist.

----

So, and I don't mean to be harsh, and it wasn't my word, but: yes, a one-word response to an unasked or tangentially asked question, that doesn't pay heed to the gist of the discussion, that doesn't engage with the presented evidence, that isn't presented with any evidence of its own, that makes no rational sense, that has little if any explanatory power, and that could just as easily be presented as an answer to any thread on the board, can sometimes qualify as "underthought".

[I also think it's disingenuous, because it moves the discussion away from facts and toward political conveniences, by using political weapons designed to delegitimise the opinions of others without having to have recourse to reason or evidence. It's a Godwin. "People think like that because... because they're doubleplusungood people, that's why! And any sort of attempt to defend it is also doubleplusungood!". Slogans, dogwhistles, and politically loaded labels should be used a last resource, not as a first.]
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Radagast »

Dear Salmoneus allow me to illustrate at this point the conversation that I am participating in:

Torco wrote: It seems to support the meme that "in ancient societies men hunted while women gathered"


Torco mentions a meme - the notion that in ancient societies men hunt and women gathered.

Curan Roshac wrote:
Radagast wrote:It is pretty common in most hunter gatherer cultures yes (that women hunt, but less than men).


I wonder what the underlying cause would be for this effect. Most "answers" that are given to the aforementioned meme strike me as conjectural at best.


Curan then asks what the cause of this meme being so widespread might be. To which I answer "ethnocentrism" - I of course at this point wish I hadn't answered at all, but that I had instead left this board long ago - but I guess that is not relevant now.

Now, at this point I wouldn't accuse you of being disingenious, since that would open me up to accusations of being facetious. Let me instead set up my argument in a way that will make it easier for your logically structured mind to process without having to actually resort to interpretation.

proposition A. there is a general meme in the western world that in hunter gatherer societies men hunt and women gather.
proposition B. this meme is not inaccordance with observable facts which show us that in most hunter gatherer societies both men and women hunt - although women to a lesser degree.

- the question 1. then becomes how did this meme arise? My eplanation goes:

Proposition C. In the western world (here understood to be the same world in which the meme has spread) there is a general culturally determined association (another meme you might say) of men with characteristics as "aggressiveness/weapons/public functions/warfare/butchering/sharp tools/meat" and women with "peacefulness/life-giving/domestic functions/pottery/cooking/dometic utensils/gardening/plants".
Evidence for Proposition C. Proposition C is backed by an enormous amount of literature and cultural history produced by western societies for the past several centuries. It is for example the basis of a lot of early feminist theory. It is also the basis of the stereotypical presentation of men and women in western media and culture. And it is in fact also overwhelmingly the case that the associations of characteristics correspond very well with how occupations and interests are demographically divided between men and women. I don't think there is a single European cuóuntry where there are equal amounts of men and women in domestic and public functions. Or where there are equal amounts of men and women with hunting licenses. This should be statistically verifiable - but I assume that this is not necessary.


Proposition D. When westerners believe that non-western hunter gatherer societies divide the labor so that men hunt and women gather this is because they assume that other cultures have the same set of cultural associationes about the division of characteristics between the sexes. This process of assuming that other cultures operate similarly to your own is called ethnocentrism.


In short when I believed that the word "ethnocentrism" sufficed as an answer to question 1. it was because I assumed that proposition C would be commonly agreed upon as an established fact by all my interlocutors and that the meaning of word ethnocentrism was likewise common knowledge among us. In short I assumed that what I believed to be our common ground of shared knowledge would justify myself in going easy on the Gricean Maxims of Manner and Quantity. I was evidently wrong.
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Re: Culture statistics resources

Post by Miekko »

Radagast, try actually reading what Salmoneus said.

Also, you're not exactly being helpful in any gricean way either when you read 'men hunt, women gather' as an absolute statement. as a non-absolute statement it is quite accurate. Except that in our culture, a lot of the gathering behaviours are just as much or more performed by men. Which makes ethnocentrism an odd and flawed explanation.
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