Documentation by Countries

Cultural Units, Variables and Codes (original codes, improved and ranked)

As will be explained below in more detail, every country is represented by a matrix consisting of:

  • vertical: the country´s cultural units in order of their size; they are represented in the Identification Maps and described in detail in the Documentation of Cultural Units.
  • horizontal: 52 variables., each one documented by three codes: (i) the original code of the Ethnographic Atlas, (ii) a new or altered code (if at all) and (iii) the ranked form of the original or new variable (so-called R-variables). 45 of the 52 R-variables enter the data matrix and are used for statistical analyses. For the construction of the variables, codes and types see the codebook.

The country documentation can be found on the right side of this page. Each country document consists of a cover followed by seven double pages with codes and graphs – for example Angola.

Angola (PDF, 69 KB)

Support for handling ...

... regarding the cover:

The cover includes descriptive data about a county´s demography and the proportion of the population coded in the ATLAS. In the case of Angola, the data read as follows:

  • identified: 94 % of the population represented by 75 cultural units;
  • coded: 66 % of the identified groups which means that Angola is a country with above average number of missing data.

... regarding the map:

The map locates the identified cultural units with numbers. The numbers indicate the rank in terms of population size which also defines the position in the subsequent list of units. As mentioned above: Not all the identified units are also coded.

The 2 x 7 pages present the codes of 52 variables, indices and culture types. In countries with more than 30 cultural units (like in Angola), the document extends to a multiple of 14 pages. The variables are presented in three large thematic blocks: The 1st block includes indicators of the traditional technical and economic development like „Intensity of agriculture“, „Major crop type“, „metal working“ etc. The 2nd block is about social structures, e.g. „Family organization“, „kin type“ or „inheritance rules for land“. The 3rd block includes variables of the political sociopolitical order like „hierarchy beyond local community“, „Class stratification“ or „Type of political system“.

... regarding the variable codes:

The clipping on the left shows three out of the 52 variables of 5 cultural units. Beneath the name of each variable one finds three columns:

  • (M) shows the coding of the Ethnographic Atlas.
  • (A) shows the coding of the authors of the ATLAS. If not modified or newly coded (as is the case with all three variables of the second unit), the codes under (M) and (A) are identical. As for unit 5, the first two variables are newly coded, the third one corrected.
  • (R) shows the ranked variable which is used for statistical calculations (not possible in all cases).

... regarding the frequency distribution

On top of each variable´s name there is a frequency distribution. It shows the proportion (in percent) of each code in the coded population of a country.

The graph points to a specific element of the ATLAS. The focus is not on „ethnic groups“ but on the frequency of traditional cultural traits in a national population. As long as cultural units bear the same codes on the variable set of the ATLAS, the grouping of the national population does not influence the indicators of the national cultural heritage – except for one variable: the ethnic fractionalization index.

See for example: „Inheritance rule for land“ (the variable on the left). According to the Codebook p. 17, EA 73), the variable is composed of 4 ranked categories:

  • Cat. 1: absence of individual property rights or rules
  • Cat. 2: Land to the sister‘s son or other matrilineal heirs (e.g. younger brothers)
  • Cat. 3: Land to the children, equally for both sexes or daughters receiving less
  • Cat. 4: Land to father‘s son or other patrilineal heirs (e.g. younger brothers)
  • Cat. 5: Missing data

As the frequency distribution tells us, information is available for 68 % of the Angolan population. Of these 68 percent, most people stem from local cultural units falling under category 2 or 4, i.e. two alternative lineal principles. In other words: The Angolan population share lineal descent, but differ in the kind of lineality since matrilineal and patrilineal inheritance rules are equally common. As mentioned before, this statement holds regardless of how the Angolan population is ethnically constructed.