Regions Based on Social Structure: A Reconsideration
Our main suggestions regarding the world regionalization based on social structure, proposed by Burton et al. (1996) are:
1. Some Burton's (et al.) regions can be united in broader macro-regions; first of all, the Middle Old World, Circumpolar Eurasian and (probably) Canada-West may be considered as belonging to one macro-region. These regions are united not only by common patricentric patterns, but also by the fact that the overwhelming majority of this mega-region population speaks languages of three lingistic macro-families (Nostratic, Afrasian and Sino-Caucasian) belonging (according to recent research) to one mega-family which we propose to denote as NASCa. The societies of the region not only cluster closely together, but also as a whole they display a statistically significant difference from the rest of the world in the matricentric/patricentric dimension. A t-test which we performed produced t=6.4 (significant at a much less than 0.001 level).
2. A new subdivision of the NASCa mega -region is proposed: we consider Europe as a separate region which split from the Middle Old World in the 1st millennium CE. The Circumpolar is regarded as a "pseudoregion" formed through the convergent adaptations to a similar environment, rather than through historical connectedness. It is also suggested to separate from the Circumpolar region Extreme East Asia (Japanese, Okinawa, Koreans and Ainu).
3. The other suggested mega-region is "Austronesia", uniting Burton's [et al.] Southeast Asia and Insular Pacific (most of whose ethnic groups are Austronesian) and Austronesian part of "Sahul" (which according to Burton et al. unites Australia, New Guinea, and Melanesia), charcterized in general by a strongly matricentric pattern.
4. It is suggested that the initial spread of the patricentric pattern of social organization in Eurasia, was connected with the early spread of the speakers of at least one of the mentioned linguistic macro-families (Nostratic), whereas the formation of the mentioned matricentric mega-region appears to be connected with the diffusion of Austronesian-speaking peoples.