Distinguished Lecture by Ruth Mace: 'Matriliny in China: Using the toolkit from behavioural ecology to study cultural evolution'
Jul 11, 2018
MPI SHH Jena
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Tinbergens ‘Four whys’
are still a useful framework in our study of human cultural behaviour. Ruth Mace will illustrate the approach with examples of modelling and empricial
studies of proximate mechanisms, evolutionary dynamics, and phylogenetic
comparative methods, to answer at least some of the four whys, to ask
why some groups in China are matrlineal. We will examine, among other things,
the role of relatedness, reciprocity, frequency dependence and
witchcraft beliefs in establishing social relationships
in these communities. Comparisons between households in one community,
the Mosuo, and between groups of Sino-Tibetans all shed light on the
behavioural ecology of these matrilineal systems.