ANTH 1120: MAKING SENSE OF A CHANGING WORLD
LECTURE 11 : How do societies make peace?
Peach is more than absence of aggression, it's something people work towards. It's an
How is it created, kept up, sustained?
Like violence, peace is a form of symbolic action.
1) How do societies create a bias against violent conflict?
Characteristics of peaceful societies: (from textbook)
- not involved in collective violence
- little inter personal violence- no special warriors
- positive value to non aggressive resolution.
These are characteristics of ENTIRE societies.
Ð sharing and cooperation: The jonsi in south africa, how they redistribute
meat. The owner of the animals killed isn't the hunter but the owner of the
In other culture: helping someone deal with the unsatisfied need is the duty of
the group. It's required for keeping peace.
This doesn't mean that there's no hostility at all, quite the opposite, in the
jonsi who gets the meat and how much can result in violence.
For the Semai the dissatisfaction, or openly expressing the dissatisfaction is
considered dangerous for the group.
Egalitarian societies - not all pleased and satisfied with the lack of inequality,
but people constantly watch what other have and get, this is what actually
keeps equality, this is what keeps from big status differences from
Ð condemning boasting:how the jonsi cut down anyone who tries to make
them seem more important then everyone else. This is considered an
active way of maintaining equality in anthropology.
Ð avoid telling others what to do: Inuit: in their culture you work hard to
maintain goodwill. they control their emotions to avoid causing conflict and maintain goodwill. Avoid direct requests. Jean Briggs went to live with
them, she lost her temper and made a snarky remark. The was totally
ostracized from the family for months, until she figured out what was the
wrong she did. She learned about how inuit train their children to control
emotional reactions. They never told her to get out, so she kept living by
Building relationships of dependence: shinguanos (in the same area as the
Yanomami) divide the production of goods to foster the relationships of
ongoing trade between the villages.
Ð for the shinguanos if you're a warrior there's no positive value associated
Ð promoting harmony through ceremony: jhonsi: use ceremonies so
everyone can share the healing bodily substance the num. also use the
dance when there's high potential for social tenses (when there's a
presence of meat or if there's visitors in the village). As there's more
potential for conflict there's more chance they'll perform the ceremony to
share the num, not only to heal sickness but also to heal the social
these are tools we need to be able to identify in the readings.
2) What circumstances create the conditions for violence?
Ð Yanomami: gives more depth and reason for violence in society. Calling
entire societies peaceful or violence suggests that they cannot change
Just as the circumstances change the worldview, they also lead to and foster
centralized authority is called estate, some don't have it. Stateless societies. Historically
stateless societies should be tearing each other apart and are considered primitive. But
some societies are stateless but they are not violent!
While the yanomami are stateless the live in a state, it's hard for them to receive a birth
certificate, ID cards. these circumstances lead the yanomami to engage in violence:
- new western outposts (venezualans and brazilians)
The trading posts deep in the rain forests: barter with westerners gave them access to
western goods, like shotguns. certain villages relocated to be closer to the outposts (anchor villages) the ones who are
closer are specialized in trading tools to the more remote villages, they're the strongest
link to the trade. because they had the goods they became targets to raids. As a way to
compete for tools, shotguns, machetes. As a result the anchor villages started
cultivating reputation for fierceness to discourage raids and protect themselves. also,
before if a village was raided again and again it moved, but the anchor villages didn't
want to move so despite being rated they stayed put, coping with frequent raids.
- competition for western goods
-social relations breakdown: scarce food: Yanomami are hunters and gathered they
don't grow food, they collect it. Staying put also meant that they started to over hunt and
over gather in the immediate area - scarcity of food resources.