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War, Peace, and Human NatureThe Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views$
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Douglas P. Fry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858996.001.0001

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The Biocultural Evolution of Conflict Resolution Between Groups

The Biocultural Evolution of Conflict Resolution Between Groups

Chapter:
(p.315) 16 The Biocultural Evolution of Conflict Resolution Between Groups
Source:
War, Peace, and Human Nature
Author(s):

Christopher Boehm

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858996.003.0016

This chapter focuses on how conflicts are managed between different groups for a sample of forty-nine nomadic forager societies. It links conflict and conflict management within groups to the same pair of behaviors when they take place between groups. The analysis requires dealing with a large evolutionary picture, which at the level of phylogenetics involves behavioral preadaptations, and at the level of culture and psychology involves people making generalizations that allow predictable, highly routinized peacemaking within groups to serve as a generalizable model for the less predictable conflict management that takes place between groups. The chapter begins by focusing on human hunter-gatherers and on chimpanzees and bonobos—the two African great apes with whom we share the greatest amount of DNA—to see what these three species are capable of in matters related to intergroup conflict and its management, and social control. After isolating some relevant social-sanctioning behaviors that were likely in our shared ancestor, a larger question is asked: how could becoming moral have changed us, in our species' potential for both external conflict and external peacemaking?

Keywords:   conflict management, nomadic forager societies, hunter-gatherers, chimpanzees, bonobos, intergroup conflict, social control, peacemaking

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