11 Comments

Interesting. I would opt for a compromise between the two explanations of the Western European Marriage Pattern. In other words, this pattern preceded Christianization and was assimilated into the norms of Western Christianity, which then provided a more effective mechanism for enforcing that pattern.

We have good evidence of this marriage pattern from 9th century France, which corresponds to the time when the Church adopted an extreme ban on cousin marriages. We also have some fragmentary evidence from pre-Christian times. See my note at the end of Schulz's paper: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aau5141

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"Unfortunately for them, their entire exercise assumes that the initial conditions of family structures in the West on which the Church acted were endogamous communitarian — thus directly contradicting Emmanuel Todd’s thesis." This is the flaw in your logic. The sons don't have to reside in the same household in order for the theory to hold. Nuclear families were a thing, but they were close to their extended family and usually stayed in the same village. But when you ban 2nd and 3rd cousin marriage that the practice of staying in your small village becomes more difficult. It's not this black and white things are either this or that. It's subtle effects that can add up to great differences. It's not so much about the Catholic church's ban on cousin marriage creating the nuclear family, but about how it cultivated a culture of individualism and weaker extended families that eventually led to a big difference between the Western and Eastern churches. And a big part of the theory is that a lack of strong extended families lead to a rise in strong institutions to pick-up the slack like the church and mutual aid societies.

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Weirdest people vs Todd's family structures and Todd wins... impressive.

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Woman can be equal but specialized, so men hunt but women have equal power in other field so can't be bossed much. Indian women in some regions produced main amount of food via farming so men almost were subsubserviant. 2. Another factor or at least evidence is if woman wasn't surrounded by nearby huts off mostly husband's family she COULD IN NITE MURRDER HIM WITH ROCK and come morning unless outnumbered by his family survive. Sleeping with potential enemy with her having allies nearby creates equality, a man when asleep is weak and wife with near allies DARE NOT BE ABUSED DURING DAY. Only when women travel far to marry is abuse common..

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I mean, the sheer assumption of Hunter-gather societies being sexually egalitarian barely stands up to basic scrutiny. Various Australian Aboriginal nations were polygamous and women were the first bounty carried off in raids and war. Women and men were highly segregated in their social and religious roles with men being forbidden to be in the vicinity of secret women’s business on pain of severe corporal punishment or death and vice versa. Women elders had some domain, it was over concretely women and only by influence and a culture of deterrence to age over men.

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"In forthcoming work, David Le Bris and Victor Gay show"

Is a preprint available?

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May 17, 2021Liked by Policy Tensor

Brilliant. Excellent piece on inflation, too.

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Excellent piece. Todd is a critically important thinker who should be better known.

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I’m kind of bothered by why “African” isn’t analyzed further.

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