Chapter 8-Cultural Construction of Conflict and Violence Mar 26 2009

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23 Aug 2010
Chapter 8: The Cultural Construction of Conflict and Violence
x The Justification of Violent Conflict
o Violence= intrinsic feature of human societies
o Why is violence universally sanctioned?
Human nature?
Human construct meaning to justify violence?
How Do Societies Create A Bias in Favour of Collective Violence?
x Creating bias toward collective violence is to reward it
x Horses, Rank, and Warfare Among the Kiowa
o Horses=wealth
o Among Kiowa, rank was determined by,
Number of horses a man possessed
Honours accruing him in warfare
o Kiowa society divided into 4 ranks- to move up a man needed to acquire horses/honours from warfare
o Kiowa rewarded aggressive behaviour and bravery in battle
x Good Hosts Among Yanomamo
o Another way societies create favour of collective violence is to make it necessary as a way of protecting valuable
o Intervillage warfare is endemic to Yanomamo
o Women/children= valuable resources
o Men believe that to protect themselves/resources= hey must be fierce/raid other villages in a way to demonstrate
their ferocity
o Ferocity may be directed towards village members as well (men beating wives)
o Men strive to acquire females from others, to adopt an antagonistic stance towards others-> encouraging
development of ferocity
o Yanomamo, socialize male children to be aggressive/hostile (strike tormentors, bully girls)
x Constructing Religious Justifications for Violence
o Cosmic struggle between good and evil
o Most modern religions contain sacred texts describing violence confrontations between g/e
o Ppl use religious rhetoric to justify violent acts
How Do Societies Create A Bias Against Violent Conflict?
x Characteristics of Peaceful Societies
o Conflict over material resources is avoided in peaceful societies
o Emphasis on sharing/cooperation
o Ju/Hoansi
The person whose arrow kills an animal is considered to be the owner of the game/obligated to distribute it
J/H will share arrows w/ the understanding that if they kill an animal with arrow given by someone else,
they will give that owner the game
Men sharing glory/meat distribution
o Semai
Non-aggressiveness/avoidance of physical conflict
It is the obligation of all members of the community to help and give nurturance to others
Pebnum: encompasses a depiction of the community as nurturant caregivers
Semai values stress affiliation, mutual aid, and the belief that violence is not a viable option for settling
o Condemning those who boast or make claims that can be interpreted as a challenge to others
o Avoid telling others what to do and carefully control their emotions in order to maintain goodwill
o Inuit
Believe that strong thoughts can kill or cause illness
o Xinguanos
The Amazon maintains harmony by purposely sanctioning each village monopolies in the production of
certain goods
Each village has something the other village needs= village therefore maintains good relations since to
Place string negative value on aggression and things that symbolize aggression
Killing is wrong because it produces blood
Hold string stereotypes of aggressive groups (non-Xingu Indians= wild Indians)
Minimize violence through ceremony
x 'DQFLQJKHDWVXS³QXP´NHHSVSSOKDSS\KHDOWK\-lies in ones stomach) in ones stomach->
vaporized into ones brain-> trance-> transfers power to others by touch= enabling sickness
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