J u n e ' s  W e b  P a g e
Anthropology174AW - Winter 1999
World Cultural Comparisons

Topic
The correlation between social complexity and political succession.

Hypothesis
I believe that cultures that are more complex will be
more likely to use an electoral system of political succession.

Variables
Key variable --- Method of Political Succession
(at primary local level)
1. urbanization
2. population density
3. money (complexity of)
4. writing and records (complexity of)

Findings
I have found that patrilineal succession is the dominant
method in almost all cultures, regardless of their complexity.
However, I have found my hypothesis to be true in that
more complex cultures are more likely to use an electoral
system - more so than less complex cultures.

Cultural Examples
For my paper, I studied two distinctly different cultures:
China during the Qing dynasty and the present-day
United States. The U.S. today is much more urbanized,
densely populated, and complex than China was during the
Qing dynasty. It is logical that the Qing followed a
patrilineal mode of political succession while the U.S.
follows an electoral system.

Graphs/Data
graph #1:
the correlation between population density (64)
and the method of succession (77)
 

graph #2:
the correlation between urbanization (152)
and the method of succession (77)