Este Blogue tem como objectivo a discussão da violência em geral e da guerra na Pré-História em particular. A Arqueologia da Península Ibérica tem aqui especial relevo. Esperamos cruzar dados de diferentes campos do conhecimento com destaque para a Antropologia Social. As críticas construtivas são bem vindas neste espaço, que se espera, de conhecimento.

Guerra Primitiva\Pré-Histórica
Violência interpessoal colectiva entre duas ou mais comunidades políticas distintas, com o uso de armas tendo como objectivo causar fatalidades, por um motivo colectivo sem hipótese de compensação.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

There Is No Instinct for War - David Adams

Translated from the Russian in Psychological Journal (Moscow)Academy of Sciences of USSR, 1984, Volume 5: Pages 140-144

I. Introduction

The problem of whether there is an instinct for war can be solved. It can be solved through a combination of static analysis which uses scientif'ic experiments, and dynamic analysis which uses historical reconstruction. The static analysis can show how various types of biological motivation are active during warfare, but that none of them are necessary for war, because war is a sociological rather than a biological phenomenon. The dynamic analysis of the history of war can show why war has come to be carried out by men and not by women as a result of sociological rather than biological reasons.

I will present evidence to show that most of the various types of biological motivation are active during war, but that none of them are particularly necessary for war. In other words, there is no instinct for war. I will then consider the question of why there are so few women warriors. This problem can be solved by understanding the contradictions between the social institutions of marriage and warfare. It is not caused by any difference between men and women in their biological instincts.

II. Motivational Systems
The various types of biological motivation in the primates have been studied by techniques of brain research Adams, 1979) and behavioral observations (Adams and Schoel, 1982). Although most of the important information has come from work with the stumptail macaque monkey, other supporting data come from chimpanzees and other kinds of monkeys. I have presented evidence that the types of biological motivation are remarkably similar in all mammals including those as different as the rat and the monkey (Adams, 1980).

In the stumptail macaque, as in other primates, there are at least nine motivational systems of social behavior. A motivational system, as I have described it from work in brain research and behavioral observation consists of the brain structures that are responsible for groups of behaviors that occur together under a particular type of situation, e.g., sex, aggression, fear, hunger, etc. (Adams, 1979). Since war is a social phenomenon, I will emphasize social behaviors such as sex and aggression in this paper, rather than non-social behaviors such as hunger and thirst, assuming that the former are more likely to be important for warfare.

The nine motivational systems of primate social behavior are 1) offense, 2) defense, 3) submission, 4) sex, 5) grooming, 6) display, 7) play, 8) group contact, and 9) parental behavior. The first eight have been described from a statistical analysis of the social behavior of adult male stumptail macaques (Adams and Schoel, 1982). The ninth system, parental behavior, is found only in females and wasn't observed in that experiment. The first three systems, offense, defense and submission, are three aspects of aggressive and fear behaviors. They each have different brain mechanisms and are similar throughout the mammals (Adams, 1979). In humans, they correspond to the emotions of anger, fear, and social anxiety, respectively. Sexual motivation is, of course, well known. Whether male and female sexual motivations are separate is a question that will not be considered in this paper. Grooming, another social motivation, may be divided into two systems depending upon whether the grooming is of the self or of another animal, but that question also will not be discussed here. "Display" is a system that is unique to the primates and not present in lower mammals. It corresponds to what we normally call joy, excitement, or crowd contagion. Play and group contact are especially common in young animals, but may also be found in adults in some primates, especially chimpanzees and humans. In the adult stumptail macaque we observed one behavior related to group contact. When the adults were separated from their cagemates, they made a cooing vocalization which was answered by their cagemates from the other room, evidently a contact call. Therefore I have called this a "group contact" motivation rather than a "juvenile contact" motivation which it has been called by other scientists.

III. An Example of Warfare
As an example of warfare, I have chosen the warfare of the Mae Enga culture of New Guinea, as it has been described by Meggit (1977). The warfare of the Mae Enga is typical of the warfare of the so-called "primitive" cultures, and it is especially well documented by Meggit. Rather than using the word "primitive," I prefer the term "stateless" which refers to cultures that do not have a state structure. Warfare among the Mae Enga is very similar to the warfare described for other stateless cultures, including the Australian aborigines (Warner, 1937) , other New Guinea cultures (Heider, 1970) , the Yanomamo of South America (Chagnon, 1968) , the Kwakiutls of North America (Boas, 1966) and the Angami Naga of Southern Asia (Hutton, 1969). These are among the best anthropological descriptions of warfare. Warfare becomes more complex in societies with a state structure, since there is a formation of a warrior class of men, but that question is beyond the scope of the present analysis. Presumably, if there were an instinct for war, it would be seen in stateless societies as clearly, if not more so, than in complex societies.

The warfare of the Mae Enga, as described by Meggit (1977) may be understood by breaking it down into five stages of a typical war. They are: (1) the immediate event that caused the war (pages 11-15 and 70-94); (2) the group's decision about whether and how to attack (pages 76-83); (3) the preparation of weapons and supplies for the attack (pages 53-60); the march to the place of attack (pages 88-89); and (5) the attack itself (pages 89-98). In addition to these five stages, which occur over several days or weeks during the course of events of the war, there is another level of analysis. The other level of analysis extends over hundreds of years in time. It consists of the traditions of warfare that are transmitted through myths, rituals, and practices of child-rearing, training, marriage practices, etc. Any "instinct' for war would be more likely to be found by studying the events that take place during a war, rather than in the traditions of warfare which involve a more abstract level. Therefore, the latter will not be considered here in detail.

Stage one of warfare is the immediate event that caused the war. Out of 71 incidents of warfare recorded by Meggit, 61 could be classified into only three types of events. There were 41 caused by disputes over land, 12 caused by theft of pigs, and 8 that were meant to avenge a homicide. Other events, more rarely described as causes of war, included accusations of sorcery, rape, and the jealousy of a jilted suitor. The most common causes, disputes over land and pigs, need not have involved any of the various social motivational systems that we described earlier. The Mae Enga live in an area of severely crowded population and disputes over land and pigs could well arise without any particular necessity of anger, fear, or sexual desire.

IV. History of Warfare

We turn now to the dynamic historical analysis of warfare which uses the methods of cross-cultural anthropology. This is similar to the way that the methods of comparative anatomy are used by biologists to reconstruct the history of evolution. We know from anthropology that there has been a historical sequence of human economic systems beginning with hunter-gatherers, then horticultural and agricultural systems, and finally industrial systems. Therefore, we can reconstruct the history of war by seeing how it differs in various cultures with different economic systems that still exist today. Also, we know that there has been an historical trend from early stateless societies to more recent societies with state structure, so we can compare war in these two types of cultures. Finally, we know that there is a close relationship between the type of warfare and the type of marriage residency system in each culture. From this relationship it is possible to understand why it is men and not women that have come to carry out most warfare.

Warfare is practiced by cultures with all types of economic systems, which indicates that warfare began in the dawn of human evolution. Although there is some evidence that hunter-gatherers are less warlike than horticultural and agricultural peoples, there is no doubt that there is at least some warfare among most hunter-gatherer cultures (Ember, 1978). Even cultures that are famous for having no warfare at the present time did have some warfare in previous eras (for the Kung Bushmen, see Lee, 1979, pages 382-383, and for the Mbuti pygmies, see Turnbull, 1961, page 275). Even the most primitive peoples ever studied, the Tasmanian aborigines, had extensive primitive warfare (Jones, 1974).

The fact that warfare has occurred in most cultures and throughout the course of human history is not evidence that it is instinctive. We know of many cultural traditions that are practically universal yet are not "instinctive," e.g. language, clothing, pottery-making, etc. On the other hand, the opposite argument cannot be made either. The absence of warfare from a few cultures cannot be used to argue that warfare is not instinctive because, as we have noted, warfare has occurred in most cultures and throughout history.

Warfare is common in both state and stateless societies. In reconstructing the origins of warfare, it is best to use data from stateless societies where war is not complicated by the existence of state structure with a warrior class and other classes.

V. Warfare and Marriage
The relationship between type of warfare and type of marriage residency system can show why it is men and not women that have come to be warriors. From this it is possible to refute the claims by some authors that this sex difference reflects some difference in instincts between men and women. Women are quite capable of fighting in wars, and they have sufficient strength to run, to use spears, and to use bows and arrows, and they are certainly capable of all of the various motivations and emotions. They are usually absent from war, however, because they have been actively excluded by men. Men have maintained a monopoly on war and the use of the weapons of war. This has occurred because their wives often came from the families of the enemy. Under this circumstance, the wife would have divided loyalties and could not be trusted during warfare. Whose side would they take, their husband's side or the side of their fathers and brothers?

Cross-cultural data indicate that the problem of the wife's divided loyalty during warfare has been especially common in just those cultures in which warfare developed in early human prehistory. These are stateless cultures of hunter-gatherers that practice internal warfare (i.e., warfare directed against neighboring groups with the same language and culture). The problem of the wife's loyalty has arisen because these cultures have marriage residency systems of patrilocal exogamy. This means that the bride comes from a different community (exogamy) and goes to live with the family of the husband (patrilocality). Patrilocal exogamy is the most common marriage residency pattern in all cultures with internal warfare (Ember and Ember, 1971; Adams, 1983); It is especially common in stateless hunter-gatherer cultures with internal warfare. In the survey of hunter-gatherers by Ember (1978), 15 of the 21 cultures with internal warfare had marriage residency systems that were patrilocal with at least some exogamy.

The reason why cultures with internal warfare have adopted patrilocal rules for marriage residency has been suggested by Ember and Ember (1971). They suggest that patrilocality ensures men that their sons who have been trained as warriors will continue to live with them and fight alongside them and their brothers. The contradiction between patrilocal exogamy and the loyalty of women during warfare has been solved by the exclusion of women from war. The exclusion is complete. Not only are women not allowed to fight, but they are not allowed to attend the war planning meetings. They are not allowed to own, make, or even touch the weapons of war, and since these weapons are used in hunting, they are not allowed to hunt with them as well. They are not even allowed to sleep with their husbands during war. In one New Guinea culture, the fingers used to pull a bow string are cut off from the hands of little girls, which ensures that they will never become warriors (Heider, 1970).

I have made a test of this theory (Adams, 1983). The theory predicts that in cultures in which there is no possibility of disloyalty by wives there should be some cases of women warriors. I found that in a sample of 34 stateless cultures without any exogamy and with only external warfare (i.e., warfare only against distant cultures with which there is no inter- marriage), there are reports of women warriors in 9 of them. These are the cultures in which there is no problem of the wife's loyalty, since war is never carried out against her relatives. By contrast, in a sample of 32 cultures with patrilocal exogamy and internal warfare, where disloyalty is a potential problem, there have never been any reports of women warriors. This test supports the theory. In other words, women are quite capable of fighting as warriors when there is no question of their loyalty. The fact that there are so few women warriors arises from the frequent occurrence of the contra- diction between patrilocal exogamy and internal warfare. It arises because men have actively monopolized warfare in these cultures and have excluded women from taking part in war.

VI. Conclusion
In conclusion, there is no evidence for a special instinct of war. Instead, there is considerable evidence that warfare is a cultural institution with an ancient history and close relations to other cultural institutions, e.g., marriage systems. Therefore, we can encourage the millions of people around the world who are engaged in the struggle to abolish war and militarism. We can say to them that there is nothing that we know in biology that stands in the way of the abolition of war. Instead, we can note how contradictions between social institutions have led historically to changes in them. We can note how there is a contradiction in our time between nuclear warfare and the very survival of culture itself. And we can predict that the time has come when the institution of war can be abolished.

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Adams, D. B. (1983). Why there are so few women warriors. Behavior Science Research, 18, 3.

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Jones, R. (1974). Tasmanian tribes. In: N. B. Tindale, Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. University of California Press.

Lee, R. B. (1979). The !Kung San. Cambridge University Press.

Meggi t, M. (1977). Blood is their argument: Warfare among the Mae Enga tribesmen. Mayfield: Palo Alto, California.

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Warner, W. L. (1937). A Black civilization: A social study of an Australian tribe. Harper: New York.

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