Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse





WEIRD people and The Western Church: who made who?


Watts,  Joseph
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)

(Preprint), 366KB

Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Passmore, S., & Watts, J. (2022). WEIRD people and The Western Church: who made who? Religion, Brain & Behavior, 2021.1991459. doi:10.1080/2153599X.2021.1991459.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-6828-6
Henrich’s The WEIRDest People in the World explains how the West came to be psychologically and culturally WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic), and the economic and social effects this has had on the last two thousand years of human history. One of the many strengths of WEIRDest People in the World is that it synthesizes evidence from psychology, economics, anthropology, and history into an integrated, compelling, and coherent theoretical framework. In this book, kinship is positioned at the forefront of narratives about the evolution of human societies – something that has long been recognized within anthropology but often missing from grand history narratives (Diamond, 1999; Harari, 2014). This work is highly readable while still making clear, empirically testable causal hypotheses. A central hypothesis of Henrich (2020) is that the Western Christian Church’s Marriage and Family Program (MFP) caused changes in European kinship systems. Here we evaluate the evidence presented in support of this hypothesis by reviewing the available information on pre-MFP kinship systems in Europe and re-analyzing cross-national associations between MFP and kinship structures using phylogenetic comparative methods. We raise alternative hypotheses about the relationships between the Western Christian Church and kinship structures and suggest that further research is needed to arbitrate these hypotheses.