By James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray
This publication explores the function of aggression in primate social structures and its implications for human habit.
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Extra resources for Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates
Troop demography, lineage ranking, kin support) that decide an animal's dominance history. Further, multigenerational data permit us to correlate changes in dominance relationships with changes in environmental resources. The baboon population of Amboseli declined from 1963 to 1979 and stabilized in 1983. The Amboseli data thus permit study of how different demographic and resource regimes affected the relationship between agonistic behavior and dominance. Data from the Koshima troop show that dominance relationships were stable during a period of population growth, but major upheavals occurred during the population decline created by the restriction of artificial feeding.
Elementary aggressiveness plays little part in the actions of combatants: they are guided by obedience, a propensity to cooperate, above all by duty consequent upon the role that they occupy (Hinde 1990:225). Hinde is not implying that the conceptual models developed from analyses of primate behavior are irrelevant to understanding human warfare: just that these models may explain only a portion of the societal phenomenon called war. And, as anthropologists and sociologists have long noted—especially in the tradition of "social facts to explain social facts" (Durkheim 1938) or "culturological vs.
Many of them relate to our fifth theme: the study of the pro-social effects of aggression. As we discussed above, this concept is problematic. The least controversial use is to remind us that not all agonistic episodes threaten to destroy social life. The difficulty with this usage is that the term "pro-social" connotes something more than the point that violence may occur without totally destroying the flow of social behavior. Further, the distinction between an agonistic episode that is pro-social and one that is resolved quickly is difficult to operationalize.
Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates by James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray