Date of Award

11-1973

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

Peter W. Steager

Language

English

Abstract

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.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Anthropology Commons

Share

COinS