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Lecture 04/25

by: Viktoryia Zhuleva

Lecture 04/25 ANTH 10000

Viktoryia Zhuleva
GPA 3.0

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About this Document

Men and warfare
Dr. Richard Blanton
Class Notes
Anthropology, Purdue
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Viktoryia Zhuleva on Wednesday April 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 10000 at Purdue University taught by Dr. Richard Blanton in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 36 views. For similar materials see Anthropology in Liberal Arts at Purdue University.


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Date Created: 04/27/16
Lecture 04/25 Human Violence, Including Homicide and War  Is violence a product of our primate heritage?  Are war and violence ancient aspects of human social behavior?  Is there such thing as a peaceful society? Two ways to think about human nature is relation to violence and war  The "natural state of humans" approach (what were humans like before the advent of the state and civilization?)  Sociobiology (the basis for violence is to be found in primate heritage)  Does either approach have any unity? "The natural state of humans" Approach I: The "Hobbesian" view:  Sir Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)  Before the state, humans were selfish competitors, resulting in a "war of every man against every other man" and lives that were "poor, nasty, brutish, and short"  According to Hobbes, only with great difficulty do humans establish social contracts that make cooperation possible “Natural State of Humans”, Approach II, the “Golden Age” Perspective Rousseau:  Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)  IN their natural state, humans suppress violence through pity and compassion  Social complexity and the state bring wars, class conflict, battles over resources Both Hobbes and Rousseau are simplistic:  25% of known small-scale societies without that state lack warfare (“peaceful societies”) (but do have homicide)  However, many horticultural small-scale societies lacking the state have very high rates of warfare death Sociobiology in Historical Context  Following WWII, most people were pessimistic about the human future  Some scientific-appearing but sensationalist books traced the propensity toward violence to our primate heritage No clear casualty from sociobiological perspective  Primates are not generally violent, aggressive animals (they have evolved primarily as fruit, insect, nut, and leaf eaters) – although they do exhibit some aggressive encounters within and between groups  Reconciliation is observed as often as aggressive encounters Forms and causes of violence - Homicide (killing of a person who is a member of your own group) is found in all human societies - Homicide is not sanctioned in any known society but capital punishment for homicide typically is - Capital punishment is found in virtually all known societies but many entail banishment rather than killing Cross-cultural variation in homicide rates  The average for all known foragers is 30 to 40 per 100,000 per year (Chicago=30 per 100,000 per year)  Some groups have high homicide rates: Gebusi (New Guinea) 419 per 100,000 per year  Copper Eskimo (late 19 / early 20 centuries) 60% of men had killed someone (either homicide or capital punishment) The History of Homicide in Human experience: Osteological and Archaeological Indicators of Homicide and Capital Punishment  Homicide is usually committed by one person and aims o At surprise and quick death without struggle (injuries to the back of head, etc.) - usually one or a few quick blows, then flee the scene  the weapons is not left in place  Capital punishment often involves "pincushioning" by multiple persons working cooperatively – the deceased is usually a lone adult male – sometimes buried separately Pincushioning  Following injury, bone begins to heal  Multiple injuries with variable degrees of healing: the person lived through attacks  Multiple injuries, some or all with no evidence of healing – this implies death was caused by multiple simultaneous blows Homicide and capital punishment are probably ancient (at least Upper Paleolithic) Forms and Causes of warfare:  Warfare that results in the killing of members of other groups (including territorial intruders) is always sanctioned but may be under considerable social control  Warfare and raiding are not always present – 25% of ethnographically known societies have no inter-group killing (peaceful societies) - although all have homicide Osteological and Archaeological Evidence for Warfare:  Warfare, including revenge killings between social segments results in injuries to the front of the body  Warfare victims more often include women and children  Victims may be buried as a group Evidence for Warfare is More Recent Compared with Homicide and Capital Punishment:  The earliest evidence is a proto-Neolithic site in the Nile Valley 10,000 BCE (but Neolithic phases in other areas also have signs of war)  Multiple simultaneous internments, with multiple injuries, mostly frontal  The burial includes men, women, and children all buried at the same time


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