see also
  • Structure and Dynamics eJournal
  • Human Complex Systems working papers
  • NETWORK papers only
  • KINSHIP papers only
  • CROSS CULTURAL papers only (under construction)
  • HISTORICAL DYNAMICS papers only (under construction)

    Comparative Research home site (UC Irvine): World Cultural Comparison COURSES and WORKSHOPS using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample

    Abstract. The SCCS databases and codebooks are distributed free, along with instructional course materials, R shareware for corss-cultural research, bibliographic reference html pages, and other materials.

    Under development, a reconstruction of the first electronic cross-cultural research system, dating from 1966 : Societal Research Archives System: Codes and Data

    Abstract. Since 1969, hundreds of cross-cultural studies have contributed coded data using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. Some of uses of the SCCS are describing and findings illustrated by reviewing the ideas in major books whose authors coded new data as well as evaluating theories tested from the new and cumulative database.

    See also the Wikipedia sites, 2006: Standard Cross-Cultural Sample and Galton's problem

    Abstract.The theory of reliability and reliability estimates, nearly a century old, has rarely been employed in anthropology, both for lack of familiarity and related problems of computation. This theory is reviewed and considered for use with anthropological data. A set of procedures is provided which combine existing methods to solve the practical problems in use of the theory to assess the reliabilities of composite measurement scales combining multiple measures, of individual independent measurements of a single concept, and of individual cases scored on the composite scales. These procedures are also embodied in a computer program, the results of which are explicated. While domain sampling assumptions are the only requirements of assessing reliability of composite scales, strict assumptions and validation procedures are discussed for the assessment of individual variable reliabilities. An illustration using reliability theory is drawn from cross-cultural studies for "high inference" measures from four different studies of father - child interaction. Validity issues are illustrated both in terms of tests for measurement bias and construct validity for the hypothesized relation between the father - child bond and beliefs in high gods.
    Reliability theory is equally applicable in comparative and ethnographic case studies. It offers research practices and theoretical understandings that are capable of integrating and mediating discourse between many of the splintered schools of thought in anthropology, and healing some of the rifts between them. Essentialist biases are discussed as one reason why the theory is not more, widely employed.

    Abstract. A co-authored methodological guide to software written by the first author assesses the classical problems (discussed by White 1990) of determining (1) unidimensionality of multiple measures of the same construct as a prerequisite to assessing reliability, (2) item and multiple-item scale reliability and (3) the reliability of estimates for individual cases.

    Abstract.Third factor tests using cross-tabulation methods are at the leading edge of cross-cultural research because they get us to think about replicating results, testing validity by controlling for reliability, discovering new relationships that are the result of interactions among variables, identifying invalid relationships by controlling for third factors, and showing how certain correlations are valid withing certain contexts but not others. One-factor tests help to overcome some of the limitations of cross-cultural research by testing for reliability and developing combined measures with higher levels of reliability.

    Abstract. Cross-tabulations of qualitative data are a fundamental tool of empirical research. Their interpretation in terms of testing hypotheses requires a number of relatively simple concepts in statistical analysis that derive from probability theory. When strictly independent events having two characteristics that are independently defined are tabulated in a contingency table, the laws of probability can be used to model, from the marginal totals (rows, columns) of the table, what its cell values would be if the variables were statistically independent. The actual cell values of the frequency table can be used to measure the correlation between the variables (with zero correlation corresponding to statistical independence), they can be compared to expected values under the null hypothesis of statistical independence, and they can be used to give an significance-test estimate of the probability that the departure of the observed correlation from zero (statistical independence) is simply a matter of chance. Further, when the sample of observations departs from strict independence because of observed interactions between them, the correlations between interacting neighbors measured on the same variables can be used to deflate effective sample size in obtaining accurate significance tests.

    Abstract. To answer the need for a simplified and comprehensive introduction to Cross-Cultural Research in the context of a classroom in a computer laboratory, this introduction addresses

  • 1 What is Cross-Cultural Research? (with a focus on Cultural coherence or decoherence within and between human communities: human behavior, beliefs, and institutions)

  • 2 A Course in Cross-Cultural Research

  • 3 Goals and Outcome

  • 4 Tools: Spss; Maps and MapTab; Statistics for Galton's Problem

  • 5 Topics and Terms: Lists of Topics; Files; References; Glossary

  • 6 Resources: e.g., On-line articles, e.g., JSTOR "Polygyny"

  • 7 Draft and Final Paper

  • 8 References

  • 9 On-line Resources: Articles from World Cultures journal at http://www.worldcultures.org/

    Abstract. Since 1969, hundreds of cross-cultural studies have contributed coded data using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample which is now reprinted here with annotations and guides to the on-line database as published in World Cultures.

    See also, 2006: Pinpointing Sheets for the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample Douglas R. White and George P. Murdock

    SCCS Wikipedia site

      [2002] 1986 Douglas R. White, Data Base . Current Anthropology 27(1):83-84

    Abstract. Since 1969, hundreds of cross-cultural studies have contributed coded data using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample which will now distributed in the journal World Cultures.

    Abstract. Since 1969, hundreds of cross-cultural studies have contributed coded data using the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. The bibliography is a coded compendium of all the ethnographic sources used in different coding projects by hundreds of contributors. Relevance to the pinpointed ethnographic site and time period is coded for each ethnographic source. The on-line database is published in World Cultures.

    Abstract. Interpreting comparative observations from diverse world cultures poses the dilemma of how to unfold the wide variety of functional and historical processes observed in cultural systems. Do correlations among cultural variables represent functional relations or historical adhesions? Some elements are acquired through independent invention (including functional adaptation), others through common origin (through migration, replication of like units) or diffusion (borrowing between units). Diverse origins may indicate differing functions or explanations for cultural phenomena, but functions also change in time and may require different explanations under the selective pressures of a different historical period. Similar institutions among cultures at one point in time may reflect convergent adaptation and historical interaction rather than commonality of origin.

    The present article adopts the spatial perspective on the patterns of similarity and differences between culture-bearing entities, using a measure of spatial autocorrelation, the Moran coefficient (Moran 1950). An overall index of spatial clustering in cultural patterns is estimated from the application of spatial autocorrelation statistics to cross-cultural data. Autocorrelation - the measure of similarity among related units - has a direct relevance to comparative research in that it has profound methodological implications for testing cross-cultural hypotheses that depend on measuring correlation between variables. E v a with small samples (e.g., of N=40), levels of autocorrelation of .40 and above are sufficient to cause serious underestimate, by orders of magnitude (e.g., at half or less of the true value) of sample variance, standard errors, and confidence limits @ow, Burton and White 1982), both for sample means and estimates of correlation or regression coefficients.

    Leaving methodological issues aside, at least until results of the study on levels of autocorrelation are presented, the spatial organization of culture is necessarily a major theoretical issue in anthropology if there are mnltiple processes in cultural systems that work at different spatial levels and time scales.

    Abstract. Critique of dispositional explanations for local level conflict shows anomalies in Ross's (1985) theory of violence and in ethnographic accounts using "culture of violence" explanations of conflict. This paper parallels international relations theories (e. g. Waltz 1959) in examining hypotheses about regional and world-system linkages as causally implicated in local-level warfare. In a pilot study using a fraction of the standard sample, two variables are found to predict external conflict: Frequency of interregional contact and relocation forced by powers in the larger world-system. The correlation between external and internal conflict is positive in more peripheral zones of the world-system, but negative in the more central zones. External war combined with the extent of state level organization predicts the strength of fraternal interest groups, one of the dispositional predictors of internal violence. Such evidence might support a scenario for reversing the direction of causation in Ross's theory of violence such that internal violence and societal features "disposing" to internal violence (including features of socialization) may result from conflictual pressures at the world-system, regional linkages and state levels.

    These findings support Ross's (1985: 553-554) statement that "As a number of modern nations haves shown ..., teaching a citizenry to fight outside enemies often produces more fighters inside as well." They do not support his speculation that "Similarly, if violence is a mechanism for dealing with internal opponents, whv would we not expect it to he used with outsiders too?" simply because internal violence almost never occurs independently of external war, which makes a reversal of causality implausible.

    Abstract. A network approach to economic organization, kinship systems and complexity dynamics is used to explore nomadic pastoralism as a socio-natural system. Graph theoretic measures of network cohesion are related to issues of the emergence, transformation and decay of social and economic networks and their sustainability and resilience in relation to the environment and the organization of energy, material, social, and informational flows.

    Abstract. We show how simple rules shared by actors acting somewhat independently and with local rather than complete global information can nonetheless generate coherent global structures. In the case of dual organization, from analysis of actual marriage networks and genealogical linkages, we find many ethnographic instances where two-sided networks and marriage choices go unnoticed by ethnographers because global labels and descent rules for sides are absent. To understand global structures and institutions that may be at play, unnoticed, in social systems, it is simply not sufficient to look for shared labels attached to the parts of global structure: their structure may reside in patterns of relationships, in their instantiation. What patterns residing in relationships instantiate, however, is not necessarily a set of local decision rules that are shared and identically labeled, but rather sets of local outcomes of behavior that contribute - in possibly heterogeneous even if structurally equivalent ways - to a global configuration.

      2001 Douglas R. White (UC Irvine) and Michael Houseman (Paris EPHE) Sidedness: 160 Million Strong? Abstract of presentation for the American Anthropological Association.

    Abstract. We show how simple rules shared by actors acting somewhat independently and with local rather than complete global information can nonetheless generate coherent global structures. In the case of dual organization, from analysis of actual marriage networks and genealogical linkages, we find many ethnographic instances where two-sided networks and marriage choices go unnoticed by ethnographers because global labels and descent rules for sides are absent. To understand global structures and institutions that may be at play, unnoticed, in social systems, it is simply not sufficient to look for shared labels attached to the parts of global structure: their structure may reside in patterns of relationships, in their instantiation. What patterns residing in relationships instantiate, however, is not necessarily a set of local decision rules that are shared and identically labeled, but rather sets of local outcomes of behavior that contribute - in possibly heterogeneous even if structurally equivalent ways - to a global configuration.

      1977 Douglas R. White, Michael L. Burton, and Lilyan A. Brudner, Entailment Theory and Method: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Sexual Division of Labor. Behavior Science Research 12:1-249. download data from spss excel

    Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to explore a more precise form for theoretical propositions in certain types of cross-cultural problems and to develop and explicate an accompanying statistical method. An inductive application of the method for entailment analysis has led us to formulate a new and powerful theory of the sexual division of labor.

    ENTAILMENT ANALYSIS

    Abstract.A programmed statistical method developed for the analysis of binary data by the author explicates how to find approximations to discrete Boolean relations of inclusion, mutual exclusion, and collective exhaustion that satisfy empirical conditions for transitivity, and thus which facilitate formulation of rules and generalizations in discrete form ("If ... then ...") that are also logically transitive. Signal detection methods are used to reject relationships that could be due to chance by comparing actual relationships to those found in Monte Carlo simulations of comparable random datasets. The analytic results constitute a discrete network structure of nontrivial empirical implications that characterize a dataset.

    Abstract. The p-graph approach that has proven an invaluable aid to the study of kinship, marriage and genealogical network analysis here is explicated ñ in terms of solving five key conceptual problems of network studies, including that of identifying subgroup boundaries -- and combined with a computer package for sparse-network algorithmic analysis and visual representation of large (up to 90,000 node) networks. The results of this new marriage between graph-theoretical analysis, computer science, network anthropology and network-visualized social history are illustrated for a 1600- person social system consisting of an entire Turkish nomad society, with a relinking density of 75%, the highest density of structural endogamy yet recorded. It is shown how the algorithmic, analytic and graph-editing technology of this new concatenation of elements for network analysis leads to striking new understandings of social structure and social processes, and how to prepare visualizations of discoverable emergent properties of structure in such a large and dense network. This article reviews the developments and contributions of the authors to the evolution of these tools and methods for large-scale network analysis, and provides a complete series of guides and illustrations for the reader to utilize the two software packages discussed.

    Abstract: The life and research agenda of Thomas Schweizer, who died suddenly at the age of 48, is considered in terms of its contributions to anthropology and social science generally. Schweizer was the leading contributor to a processual approach to understanding the fundamentals of ethnographic research through a synthesis between the network approach to social organization and an actor based approach that takes into account cognition and individual decision making under the network constraints and dynamics of social organization. This memorial considers how this synthesis developed within Schweizer's career and his institutional and intellectual contributions to German Anthropology and the University of Cologne Institute of Ethnology.

      Rethinking Polygyny: Co-Wives, Codes, and Cultural Systems Douglas R. White Current Anthropology, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Aug. - Oct., 1988), pp. 529-572. jstor
      pw/Polygyny1988.pdf

    Abstract. A new set of codes is offered to begin to unpack the dimensions of polygyny. Included are measures of frequency and statistical distributions of multiple wives, cultural rules, residential arrangements and kin relations among co-wives, male stratification, and marriage of captured women. Problems of coding and measurement are extensively illustrated. A series of hypotheses is supported regarding two types of polygyny: wealth-increasing and sororal. In the first, women's labor generates wealth and (if warfare allows) female captives are taken as secondary wives. Here polygyny stratifies males by wealth and most men are able to become polygynists with age. Residential autonomy of wives is an elaboration of this pattern. The second is marked by coresidence of husband and wives and dependence of the family mostly on resources generated by the husband. Here polygyny is usually dependent on the exceptional productivity of particular men such as hunters or shamans. The regional-historical adaptations of these types differ markedly. Neither fits the model of resource-defense polygyny found in other species. Explanations of polygyny, particularly of the first type, require close attention to resource and demographic flows within regional ecologies. The second type requires further functional and historical analysis. Both require more consideration of the way polygyny operates from the female point of view, a task only partially begun here.

      Cross-Cultural Surveys Today Michael L. Burton, Douglas R. White Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 16. (1987), pp. 143-160. jstor
      pw/XCS1987.pdf

      Causes of Polygyny: Ecology, Economy, Kinship, and Warfare. Douglas R. White; Michael L. Burton American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 90, No. 4. (Dec., 1988), pp. 871-887. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294%28198812%292%3A90%3A4%3C871%3ACOPEEK%3E2.0.CO%3B2-I

    Abstract. We discuss and test competing explanations for polygyny based on household economics, malecentered kin groups, warfare, and environmental characteristics. Data consist of codes for 142 societies from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample, including new codes for polygyny and environmental characteristics. An explanatory model is tested for the worldwide sample using regression analysis, and then replicated with regional samples. We obtain convergent results with two different measures of polygyny, cultural rules for men's marriages and the percentage of women married polygynously. We conclude that the best predictors of polygyny are fraternal interest groups, warfare for capture of women, absence of constraints on expansion into new lands, and environmental quality and homogeneity.

      Galton's Problem as Network Autocorrelation. Malcolm M. Dow; Michael L. Burton; Douglas R. White; Karl P. Reitz American Ethnologist, Vol. 11, No. 4, Social Structure and Social Relations. (Nov., 1984), pp. 754-770. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0094-0496%28198411%2911%3A4%3C754%3AGPANA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y

    Abstract. Classical statistical inference procedures usually assume the independence of sample units. However, the assumption of independence is often unrealistic in cross-cultural research because societies in neighboring or historically related regions tend to be duplicates of one another across a wide variety of traits that are spread by historical fission, diffusion, or migration of peoples. A recent generalization of the usual regression model explicitly allows for networks of interdependencies among sample units as part of the model specification. Here, two new estimation procedures for this network autocorrelation model are compared to previously employed maximum likelihood procedures, and to the usual regression procedures which ignore interdependence. The results of comparisons based on simulated autocorrelation data and the reanalyses of two previously published empirical studies indicate that both of the procedures proposed here compare very favorably with the maximum likelihood approach, and both are vastly superior to the usual regression procedures when there is moderate to high autocorrelation (i.e., interdependence). [Galton's Problem, cultural diffusion, networks, cultural evolution, statistical methodology]

      Sexual Division of Labor in Agriculture. Michael L. Burton; Douglas R. White American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 86, No. 3. (Sep., 1984), pp. 568-583. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294%28198409%292%3A86%3A3%3C568%3ASDOLIA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-U

    Abstract. Female agricultural contributions decline with agricultural intensification. We formulate and test a theory of the processes of agricultural intensification that explains a high proportion of the variance in female contributions to agriculture. Five variables show replicable effects across two or more regions of the world. These are number of dry months, importance of domesticated animals to subsistence, use of the plow, crop type, and population density. Of these, the first two are the most powerful predictors of female agricultural contributions, while population density has only very weak effects

    Abstract. A model of causes and consequences of sexual division of labor in agriculture is tested using a sample of African societies. Crop type and the presence or absence of slavery are shown to be effective predictors of the degree of female contribution to agricultural subsistence, and the degree of polygyny is shown to be affected by female agricultural contribution and the form of residence. Autocorrelation effects are found and are shown to be a consequence of Bantu societies having higher female participation in agriculture than would otherwise be expected. This effect is an example of one of the kinds of phenomena that anthropologists have referred to as Galton's problem

      A Model of the Sexual Division of Labor. Michael L. Burton; Lilyan A. Brudner; Douglas R. White American Ethnologist, Vol. 4, No. 2. (May, 1977), pp. 227-251. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0094-0496%28197705%294%3A2%3C227%3AAMOTSD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B

    Abstract. Assumptions about economies of effort in performance of tasks in the same production sequence and assumptions about constraints on women's geographic mobility due to nursing and child care are used to derive hypotheses about the allocation of tasks in the sexual division of labor in preindustrial societies. The hypotheses constitute a locational model of the division of labor by sex that makes predictions in the form of entailments: for one sex, doing task X entails doing task Y. The predictions of the locational model are tested using a new procedure for statistical entailment analysis applied to a body of data on fifty tasks in the 185 societies of the standard cross-cultural sample. Assumptions about constraints of nursing and the effect of supplementary feeding of infants on women's participation in task activities are also tested and found to be supported from the evidence on this sample.

      A Cross-Cultural Historical Analysis of Subsistence Change. Candice Bradley; Carmella C. Moore; Michael L. Burton; Douglas R. White American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 92, No. 2. (Jun., 1990), pp. 447-457. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7294%28199006%292%3A92%3A2%3C447%3AACHAOS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-O

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