Advertisement

Evolutionary Anthropology, Co-operation and Warfare

  • Robert LaytonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in the Evolutionary Analysis of Human Behaviour book series (AEAHB, volume 1)

Abstract

The chapter begins by reviewing recent work by Robert Kaplan and Steven Pinker, both of whom invoke Hobbes to support their argument that men are naturally violent or warlike. Kaplan and Pinker conclude that only ‘strong government’ can guarantee that society will not break down into anarchy. However, the failure of Western military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan to install strong government and enforce peace points to the need for a better understanding of the dynamics of conflict and co-operation. I therefore examine critically the anthropological evidence for violence among chimpanzees and in small-scale human societies that Pinker and others cite in support of their Hobbesian arguments and identify both inaccuracies in the data cited and problems in their interpretation. In the second part of the chapter, game theory and the concept of fitness landscapes are introduced to show how evolutionary anthropology can provide a more nuanced explanation for human competition and co-operation. These provide more accurate guidelines for practical application in forestalling civil disorder or restoring peace.

Keywords

(Robert) Kaplan (Steven) Pinker (Thomas) Hobbes War Chimpanzees Game theory Fitness landscape Civil disorder 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author thanks Jeremy Kendal, Sheelagh Stewart, Sean O’Hara, the anonymous reviewers and the editors for help and advice in preparing this chapter. Responsibility for any errors rests entirely with the author.

References

  1. Allen, P. (1997). Models of creativity: Towards a new science of history. In S. E. van der Leeuw & R. Torrence (Eds.), Time, process and structured transformation in archaeology (pp. 40–56). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Mohammad, H. (2010). Relying on one’s tribe: A snippet of life in Basra since the 2003 invasion. Anthropology Today, 26, 23–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aureli, F., Cords, M., & Van Schaik, C. P. (2002). Conflict resolution following aggression in gregarious animals: A predictive framework. Animal Behaviour, 64, 325–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Axelrod, R. (1990). The evolution of co-operation. Harmondsworth: Penguin (first published in 1984 by Basic Books, New York).Google Scholar
  5. Barakat, S., Wilson, C., Simcic, V., & Kojakovic, M. (2001). Challenges and dilemmas facing the reconstruction of war-damaged cultural heritage: The case of Pocitelj, Bosnia-Herzegovenia. In R. Layton, P. Stone & J. Thomas (Eds.), Destruction and conservation of cultural property (pp. 168–181). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Bates, L., & Byrne, R. (2009). Sex differences in the movement patterns of free-ranging chimpanzees (Pan troglodytesschweinfurthii): Foraging and border checking. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64, 247–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benda-Beckmann, K. von (2004). Law, violence and peace making on the island of Ambon Law. In M. C. Foblets & T. von Trotha (Eds.), Healing the wounds: Essays on the reconstruction of societies after war (pp. 1–13). Oxford: Hart.Google Scholar
  8. Bohannon, J. (2008). Calculating Iraq’s death toll: WHO study backs lower estimate. Science, 319, 273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chagnon, N. (1983). Yanomamö: The fierce people. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace (5th ed., 1997).Google Scholar
  10. Chagnon, N. (1988). Life histories, blood revenge and warfare in a tribal population. Science, 239, 985–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chagnon, N. (1997). Yanomamö [Fifth edition], Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  12. Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1988). Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  13. Denich, B. (1994). Dismembering Yugoslavia: Nationalist ideologies and the symbolic revival of genocide. American Ethnologist, 21, 367–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dudley, D. R. (1968). The world of Tacitus. London: Secker and Warburg.Google Scholar
  15. Duffield, M. (2001). Global governance and the new wars. The merging of development and security. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  16. Durkheim, E. (1938) [1895]. The rules of sociological method. (Transl. S.A. Solovay and J.H. Mueller). London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Durkheim, E. (1952) [1897]. Suicide: A study in sociology. (Transl. J. Spaulding and G. Simpson). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. (1989). Human ethology. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  19. Elster, J. (1983). Explaining technical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Ember, C. (1978). Myths about hunter-gatherers. Ethnology, 27, 239–448.Google Scholar
  21. Ewans, W. J. (2004). Mathematical population genetics, theoretical introduction. (Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics series, vol 27). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Ewans, W. J. (2004). Mathematical population genetics I. Theoretical introduction. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferguson, A. (1995) [1767]. An essay on the history of civil society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Fischer, M. (2001). In the science zone. The Yamomami and the fight for representation. Anthropology Today, 17(4), 9–14. Concluding section in Anthropology Today, 17(5), 16–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ghiglieri, M. P. (1984). The chimpanzees of Kibale Forest: A field study of ecology and social structure. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Goodall, J. (1986). The chimpanzees of Gombe: Principles of behaviour. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard/Bellknap.Google Scholar
  27. Helbling, J. (1999). The dynamics of war and alliance among the Yanomami. In G. Elwert, S. Feuchtwang & D. Neubert (Eds.), Dynamics of violence. Processes in escalation and de-escalation of violent group conflicts (pp. 103–115). (Supplement 1 to Sociologus, a Journal for Empirical Ethno-sociology and Ethno-psychology) Berlin: Duncker and Humblot.Google Scholar
  28. Hill, C. (1958). Puritanism and revolution, London: Secker and Warberg.Google Scholar
  29. Hill, K., & Hurtado, M. (1996). Ache life history: The ecology and demography of a foraging people. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  30. Hill, K., Walker, R., Božičević, M., Eder, J., Headland, T., Hewlett, B., et al. (2011). Co-residence patterns in hunter-gatherer societies show unique human social structure. Science, 331, 1286–1289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hobbes, T. (1914) [1651]. Leviathan, or the matter, form, and power of a commonwealth, ecclesiastical and civil. London: Dent.Google Scholar
  32. Kaplan, R. (1994). The coming anarchy: How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet. Atlantic Monthly, February 1994, 44–76.Google Scholar
  33. Kaplan, R. (2000). The coming anarchy: Shattering the dreams of the post cold war. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  34. Kauffman, S. (1993). The origins of order: Self-organisation and selection in evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Keeley, L. (1996). War before civilisation: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Layton, R. (2000). Anthropology and history in Franche Comté: A critique of social theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Layton, R. (2006). Order and anarchy: civil society, social disorder and war. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Layton, R., O’Hara, S., & Bilsborough, A. (2012). Antiquity and social functions of multi-level social organisation among human hunter-gatherers. In C. Grueter, I. Matsuda, Z. Peng, & D. Zinner (Eds.) International Journal of Primatology, 33, 1215–1245.Google Scholar
  39. Lee, R. B. (1979). The!Kung San: Men, women and work in a foraging society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Leutloff-Grandits, C. (2003). Coping with economic devastation. Agriculture in post-war Knin, Croatia. In C. Hann, and the “Property Relations” Group (Eds.), The postsocialist agrarian question. Property relations and the rural condition (pp. 143–170). Münster: LIT.Google Scholar
  41. Lewis, I. M. (1997). Clan conflict and ethnicity in Somalia: humanitarian intervention in a stateless society. In D. Turton (ed.) War and ethnicity: global connections and local violence (pp. 179–201). San Mario: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  42. Locke, J. (1960) [1689]. Two treatises of government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Mameli, M., & Bateson, P. (2006). Innateness and the sciences. Biology and Philosophy, 21, 155–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maschner, H. (1997). The evolution of Northwest Coast warfare. In D. L. Martin & D. W. Frayer (Eds), Troubled times: Violence and warfare in the past (pp. 267–302). Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.Google Scholar
  45. Maynard Smith, J. (1982). Evolution and the theory of games. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McGovern, M. (2012). Life during wartime: Aspirational kinship and the management of insecurity. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18, 735–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McGuire, R. (2002). Stories of power, powerful tales: A commentary on ancient Pueblo violence. In M. O’Donovan (Ed.), The dynamics of power (pp. 126–147). Centre for Archaeological Investigations, occasional paper 30, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.Google Scholar
  48. Migdal, J. S. (1988). Strong societies and weak states. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Manson, J. H. and Wrangham R. W. (1991). Intergroup aggression in chimpanzees and humans. Current Anthropology 32, 369–390.Google Scholar
  50. Nasar, S. (1998). A beautiful mind. London: Faber.Google Scholar
  51. Nelson, R. & Winter, S. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge, Belknap.Google Scholar
  52. Neumann, J. von, & Morgenstern, O. (1944). Theory of games and economic behaviour. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Nishida, T., Haraiwa-Hasegawa, M., & Takahata, Y. (1985). Group extinction and female transfer in wild chimpanzees in the Mahale National Park, Tanzania. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 67, 284–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nishida, T., Takasaki, H., & Takahata, Y. (1990). Demography and reproductive profiles. In T. Nishida (Ed.), The chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains: Sexual and life history strategies (pp. 64–97). Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  55. Peters, R. (1967). Hobbes. Harmondswoth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  56. Peterson, N., & Long, J. (1986). Australian territorial organisation (Oceania Monograph 30). Sydney: University of Sydney Press.Google Scholar
  57. Pinker, S. (2002). The blank slate: The modern denial of human nature. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  58. Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  59. Pottier, J. (1996). Relief and repatriation: Views by Rwandan refugees, lessons for humanitarian aid workers. African Affairs, 95, 403–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rao, N., & Reddy, C. R. (2001). Ayodhya, the print media and communalism. In R. Layton, P. Stone, & J. Thomas (Eds.), Destruction and conservation of cultural property (pp. 139–156). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Reyna, S. P. (2003). A Cold War story. The barbarization of Chad (1966–91). In R. Brian Ferguson (Ed.), The state, identity and violence. Political disintegration in the post-Cold War world (pp. 261–284). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Reynolds, V. (2005). The chimpanzees of Budongo Forest. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Richards, P. (1996). Fighting for the rain forest: War, youth and resources in Sierra Leone. London: International African Institute/Oxford: Currey/Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. (Page references are to 1999 edition)Google Scholar
  64. Rodseth, L., Wrangham, R. W., Harrigan, A. M., & Smuts, B. B. (1991). The human community as a primate society. Current Anthropology, 32, 221–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ross, D. (2012). “Game Theory”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/game-theory/
  66. Rousseau, J. J. (1963). The social contract and discourses. G.D.H. Cole. (Ed.) London: Dent.Google Scholar
  67. Sillitoe, P. (1978). Big Men and war in New Guinea. Man (N.S.), 13, 252–271.Google Scholar
  68. Stanner, W. E. H. (1960). Durmugan, a Nangiomeri. In J. Casagrande (Ed.), In the company of man (pp. 64–100). New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  69. Tacitus, C. (1985). The Agricola and the Germania. (Transl. H. Mattingly & S. A. Handford). Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  70. Trivers, R. (1985). Social evolution. Menlo Park: Benjamin/Cummins.Google Scholar
  71. Warner, L. (1958). A black civilisation. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  72. Weber, M. (1947) [1920]. The theory of social and economic organisation. (Transl. A. R. Henderson & T. Parsons.) London: Hedge and Co.Google Scholar
  73. Wedel, J. R. (1998). Collision and collusion. The strange case of western aid to Eastern Europe 1989–1998. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  74. Wiessner, P. (1982). Risk, reciprocity and social influences on!Kung San economics. In E. Leacock & R. Lee (Eds.), Politics and history in band societies (pp. 61–84). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Wilson, M., Wallauer, W., & Pusey, A. (2004). New cases of inter-group violence among chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. International Journal of Primatology, 25, 523–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wilson, M., & Wrangham, R. (2003). Intergroup relations in chimpanzees. Annual Review of Anthropology, 32, 363–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wrangham, R., & Peterson, D. (1997). Demonic males: Apes and the origins of human violence. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  78. Wright, S. (1932). The roles of mutation, inbreeding, crossbreeding and selection in evolution. Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress on Genetics, 1, 356–366.Google Scholar
  79. Younger, S. (2008). Conditions and mechanisms for peace in precontact Polynesia. Current Anthropology, 49, 927–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK

Personalised recommendations