Causes of Patrilocality

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The causes for the prevalence of patrilocality among village societies is that cooperation among males is in some sense more crucial than cooperation among females. Men, for example, are more effective in hand to hand combat than women, and women are less mobile than men during pregnancy and when nursing infants. As a result, men generally monopolize the weapons of war and the hunt, leading the male control over trade and politics. The practice of intense small-scale warfare between neighboring villages may be a crucial factor in promoting a widespread complex of male-centered and male-dominated institutions.

The overwhelming majority of known societies have male-centered residence and descent patterns. Seventy-one percent of 1179 societies classified by George Murdock in 1967 were either patrilocal (living with the husband's family) or virilocal (living in the husband's home); and in the same sample, societies that have patrilineal kin groups outnumber societies that have matrilineal kin groups 558 to 164. Patrilocality and patrilineality are statistically the common mode of domestic organization. They have been predominant nor only in societies that have plows and draft animals or that practice pastoral nomadism, but in simple horticultural and slash and burn societies as well.