Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Pierre Lienard

Second Committee Member

Daniel Benyshek

Third Committee Member

Peter Gray

Number of Pages



Families are essential building blocks of human social organization. For most of human history, families were fundamental economic and social elementary units (Chapais, 2009). Past research has identified a relationship between family structure and political regimes, such that specific types of kin organization seem to be typically associated with particular forms of political regimes. Such systematic macro-level associations have held up to significant scientific scrutiny. However, little research has attempted to provide detailed mechanistic accounts of those associations. Notably absent from the literature are empirical studies into the possible association between specific features of families and political orientations has been conducted. The dissertation aims to address such gap. Relying on data from the European Social Survey, which surveys beliefs and attitudes of people from across Europe, I focus on the relationship between forms of kin groups, preference for stability, desire for individual autonomy, perception of social cohesiveness, and preference for particular political expressions and types of government. The analysis suggests that larger family size correlates with greater preference for stability, lower desire for individual autonomy, perception of greater social cohesiveness, less tolerance for outlier political expressions, and stronger preference for powerful central authority. Explanations for these associations are provided.


Social and Cultural Anthropology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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