Social and spatial networks: Kinship distance and dwelling unit proximity in rural Thailand

Ashton M. Verdery, Barbara Entwisle, Katherine Faust, Ronald R. Rindfuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We address a long hypothesized relationship between the proximity of individuals' dwelling units and their kinship association. Better understanding this relationship is important because of its implications for contact and association among members of a society. In this paper, we use a unique dataset from Nang Rong, Thailand which contains dwelling unit locations (GPS) and saturated kinship networks of all individuals living in 51 agricultural villages. After presenting arguments for a relationship between individuals' dwelling unit locations and their kinship relations as well as the particulars of our case study, we introduce the data and describe our analytic approach. We analyze how kinship - considered as both a system linking collections of individuals in an extended kinship network and as dyadic links between pairs of individuals - patterns the proximity of dwelling units in rural villages. The results show that in general, extended kin live closer to one another than do unrelated individuals. Further, the degree of relatedness between kin correlates with the distance between their dwelling units. Close kin are more likely to co-reside, a fact which drives much of the relationship between kinship relatedness and dwelling unit proximity within villages. There is nevertheless suggestive evidence of a relationship between kinship association and dwelling unit proximity among kin who do not live together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-127
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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