Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Peter W. Steager
This thesis explores uses of information theory as a basis for comparison of kinship terminologies. The relevance of this approach to anthropological problems is discussed with reference to the inherent characteristics of information theory and the techniques of componential analysis. Some hypotheses concerning the relationship between sibling terms and quantities of information are considered. It is shown, with respect to a limited sample of Polynesian societies, that the information 'content' of sibling terminologies tends to vary with both population densities and indices of social stratification. The paper concludes with the formulation of a similarity metric for sibling terminologies, using shared information values, and an application of the similarity metric to Athapaskan kinship.
Hedican, Edward J., "Preliminary Considerations in the Application of Information Theory to Kinship" (1973). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5422.
McMaster University Library