Typology and Patterning: Spiro's Sample Re-examined


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    A reply by Spiro and further comment by Chaney appear under “Brief Communications,” pp. 1471–1476.

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    Harold E. Driver generously read this paper in draft and presented valuable comments.


It is demonstrated that the sample of 60 societies used by Melford E. Spiro in his paper “A Typology of Social Structure and the Patterning of Social Institutions: A Cross-Cultural Study” is biased. Spire's study also goes astray in the kinship-domestic domain because world-wide patterns can often obscure local clusterings of data that may show significant variations from one continent or culture area to another. It is suggested that world-wide correlations should always be examined for differences in the six main geographical regions; if regional differences are found, the hypothesis should be rejected completely or reformulated and tested again.