Hunter gatherer violence
May 2023 › Forums › General discussion › Hunter gatherer violence
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February 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm #109558LBird wrote:robbo203 wrote:…I recognise that this is also a question of power …
As usual for 'individualists', because you've done some reading, you genuflect to the question of 'power', and note it.But… for you, it plays no part in explaining power relationships within societies in particular historical contexts.You simply revert to asocial and ahistoric 'individuals', who suffer universal 'slights' and make universal 'responses'.You believe that you are an individual, and your activities and beliefs are entirely 'free', and that society should be composed of these 'free individuals'.This is bourgeois thinking, robbo.Unless you situate your 'individuals' in their society (ie. stop talking about 'individuals'), then you won't understand either hunter-gatherer society or our own.I'm a 'worker', by the way, not an 'individual', and power relationships are a part and parcel of my social existence, just as they are yours, and were for 'hunter-gatherers'.And as they are for anthropologists, and all scientists…
Oh dear – I have visions of yet another long tiresome thread unfolding in which our resident mystic holist, LBird, continues to utterly misrepresent those who think differently from him with his drearily predictable refrain that they exhibit nothing but "bourgeois thinking". He, it seems, is the only here entitled to call himself a "democratic communist". LOL. No,. LBird I do not believe I am an individual whose "activities and beliefs are entirely 'free', and that society should be composed of these 'free individuals'" Thats is not what I have ever said or implied. At least be honest if you want to engage in a serious debate; I'm frankly bored with having to constantly demolish you repetitive and ludicrous strawman arguments. What I actually said was "Of course individuals are embedded, and act, within a social context – no one is disputing that" . How then can you possibly maintain that I am promoting an ..er.."asocial and ahistoric (view of) individuals"? Your problem frankly is that you have this utterly naive sociological perspective which is in fact the mirror image of Margaret Thatcher's . Whereas for her, there is no such thing as "society", for you there is no such things as "individuals" and therefore we should "stop talking about individuals". What you and Thatcher completely overlook is that the one thing without the other is completely senseless. You both have a totally black-or-white view in which there exists either only concrete individuals (Thatcher) or only some mysteriously reified entity called "society" (You),Nether of you grasp the reciprocal and interactive nature of this relationship whereby individuals constitute society and are constituted by society – continuously. And you don't understand what is individualism is. So you come out with nonsensical remarks like this I think that your ideological individualism compels you to regard any 'social' limits upon 'individual free will' as 'holist'. I don't subscribe to something called "ideological individualism" – I doubt if you even know what that means! – and the mere application of social limits on individual free will does not equate with holism . Holism signifies the whole determining the parts whereas with individualism (or atomism), the parts determine the whole. I don't accept either of these positions but take an intermediate one "Individualism", for your information, is a politico-economic stance which is oriented towards the exterior world – to do with one's relations with other individuals – and is motivated by what one perceives to be in one's self interest. "Individuality" means something quite different and refers to the interior subjective world or the individual himself or herself. The hunter gatherer like the modern proletarian has what we call an interior subjective reality: self consciousness. Its something that acquire through a process of socialisation. By becoming conscious of the existence of others we become conscious of ourselves Please stop confusing these two terms!February 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm #109560Vin wrote:LBird wrote:Young Master Smeet wrote:Happy, erm, hunting.
And a happy, erm, avoiding difficult ideological questioning, to you, too, YMS!
A little hypocritical given that you have left at least two threads on this subject with questions that remain unanswered
Yes absolutely! Like LBird's flat refusal to explain precisely how "the workers" – all 7 billion of us! -are ever going to be in a position to determine the "truth" of thousands upon thousands of scientific theories by means of a "democratic vote" or even to explain why this is necessary!!! The idea is insane but lets not derail this thread which is really about violence in a hunter gatherer society!February 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm #109561Young Master Smeet wrote:I've not read it through, but in the search for freely available texts:http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/class_text_125.pdfQuote:Hunter-gatherers are highly mobile, not just in the sense of whole bandsmoving from place to place but also in the sense of individuals and familiesmoving from band to band. Bands are not permanent structures with fixedmemberships. Everyone has friends and relatives in other bands who wouldwelcome them in. Because of this, and because they are not encumbered byproperty, individuals may move at a moment’s notice from one band to another.People move from band to band for marriage, but they also move to get awayfrom conflicts or simply because they are more attracted to the people or theprocedures that exist in another band. Disgruntled groups of people withinany band may also, at any time, leave the original band and start a new one.Thus, the decision to belong to any given band is always a person’s choice.The freedom of band members to leave sets the stage for the other playlike qualities of hunter-gatherer life.
His source for this is Hunters and Gatherers, Volume 1: History, Evolution, and Social Change, ed. Tim Ingold, David Riches, and James Woodburn (1988) Happy, erm, hunting.
An interesting quote, YMS, and it points to the existence of a likely conflict avoidance mechanism in the shape of the ability of individuals or groups to simply relocate. The implication is that widepread resource scarcity such as happened among the Maoris of New Zealand after they effectively overhunted large fauna to the point of extinction in some cases may be an important condition for the rise of violent inter-group encounters within hunter-gatherer societiesFebruary 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm #109562
robbo203,Bit of hunting about and I think I've found the title of the book I saw:Quote:Violence and warfare among hunter-gatherers / Mark W. Allen, Terry L. Jones, editors. Walnut Creek, California : Left Coast Press,  Allen, Mark W., editor. 9781611329391 hardback
Can't find any reviews. This is the blurb:Quote:How did warfare originate? Was it human genetics? Social competition? The rise of complexity? Intensive study of the long-term hunter-gatherer past brings us closer to an answer. The original chapters in this volume examine cultural areas on five continents where there is archaeological, ethnographic, and historical evidence for hunter-gatherer conflict despite high degrees of mobility, small populations, and relatively egalitarian social structures. Their controversial conclusions will elicit interest among anthropologists, archaeologists, and those in conflict studies.
And the table of contents is here: http://www.lcoastpress.com/book_toc.php?id=486 Public libraries should be able to supply if you don't fancy shelling out eighty dollars….February 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm #109563
Thanks for ignoring any discussion about the political ideologies of any of the authors mentioned.Thanks also for specifically choosing quotes from those unsituated authors about 'individuals', and failing to mention anything to do with the production relationships of their societies.Socialists? Marxists? Don't make me laugh. IPGB, more like.Since none of you seem to like being critically questioned ("ooh, that nasty LBird's mentioning 'ideology', again! Why can't LBird stick to the 'facts' about 'individuals', that those nice non-ideological anthropologists have so kindly provided"), I'll stop 'interfering', and let you get on with it.Why no-one else (leaving aside the, errmm, 'contributors' to this thread, so far) can see what's going on here, politically, is a mystery to me.It's all yours.February 17, 2015 at 2:13 pm #109564
You know, I'd have thought the a description of people wandering from site to site and wandering from band to band, and the concommittant requirement to not have too much by way material goods was a description of a material process of production.As it is, I've just been pointing up information that might help discussion.February 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm #109565robbo203 wrote:The hunter gatherer like the modern proletarian has what we call an interior subjective reality: self consciousness. Its something that acquire through a process of socialisation.
Yeah, after a busy day 'hunting and gathering' our wages in the factories and offices, we often stop off at 'The Watering Hole', where we quench our thirst alongside our socio-economic bretheren, the Kalahari Bushmen, where we all marvel at the identity of our 'self-consciousness'.Do us a favour robbo: recognise this ahistorical woffle about 'interior subjective reality' as the nonsense that it is.It's bourgeois ideology, and you're propagating 'ruling class ideas' about anthropology.February 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm #109566LBird wrote:Thanks for ignoring any discussion about the political ideologies of any of the authors mentioned.
Not true. I think it is has been quite clearly established that your political ideology is that of mystical holism. As such, I think you share a lot in common with much conservative sociological thought exemplified by the likes of Comte and Durkheim – not to mention the advocates of the totalitarian state to which individuals – oh dear! a swearword in your vocabulary ! – are expected to submit in complete obeisance and apologise for the fact of even existing. I can't speak for anyone else but my own ideology as I have several times pointed is one of libertarian communism in which individuals and society are seen as interdependent terms and meaningless without the otherLBird wrote:Since none of you seem to like being critically questioned
Says the man who flatly refuses to answer critical questions asked of himFebruary 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm #109567
Y'know, robbo, it'd be great to have an informed discussion on this site about any subject.robbo203 wrote:I can't speak for anyone else but my own ideology as I have several times pointed is one of libertarian communism in which individuals and society are seen as interdependent terms and meaningless without the other.
If I take this statement at face value, I'm left wondering why all your contributions, to every subject we've encountered, are about 'individuals', and none of them are about the 'society' within which those individuals find themselves.If they are so 'interdependent' and 'meaningless without each other' (and I agree with you about that), why the constant, exclusive, emphasis on 'individuals'? As for example, your talk of 'self-consciousness', outside of any historical and social context, which does in fact make it 'meaningless'.I can only draw the conclusion that, for you, 'Libertarian Communism' is really 'Individual communism', and you then extract the 'communism' from it, too.This is, as I've said before, what I encountered on LibCom, when I asked similiar questions.This is the source of your dislike of my declarations of 'Democratic Communism', which insists that individuals can only have power through democratic social and political structures. This is nothing to do with 'liberty' or 'freedom', which are individualistic concerns, produced by being socialised in a bourgeois society.I want to see "workers' power" emerge, as a basis for Democratic Communism.These differences in our ideologies are reflected in our views of anthropology, and our understanding of 'hunter-gatherer' societies.February 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm #109569LBird wrote:If I take this statement at face value, I'm left wondering why all your contributions, to every subject we've encountered, are about 'individuals', and none of them are about the 'society' within which those individuals find themselves.
Another misrepresentation. I have constantly pointed out that its a two way thing, not a one way thing. If you only see me talking about individuals that is because you have probably subconsciously blocked out the other side of the equation which I have also stressed – because it suits you to do so. The point of my pointing out the importance of individuals was to counterbalance your nonsensical claims about individuals not existing etc etc. At no point did I ever suggest that individuals existed in some free floating atomistic sense free of any kind of social conditioning or context. I repeat my position is neither an individualistic one nor a holistic one but an intermediate one. Kindly stop misrepresenting me!February 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm #109568LBird wrote:robbo203 wrote:The hunter gatherer like the modern proletarian has what we call an interior subjective reality: self consciousness. Its something that acquire through a process of socialisation.
Yeah, after a busy day 'hunting and gathering' our wages in the factories and offices, we often stop off at 'The Watering Hole', where we quench our thirst alongside our socio-economic bretheren, the Kalahari Bushmen, where we all marvel at the identity of our 'self-consciousness'.Do us a favour robbo: recognise this ahistorical woffle about 'interior subjective reality' as the nonsense that it is.It's bourgeois ideology, and you're propagating 'ruling class ideas' about anthropology.
Oh so, you have penetrated the mind of a hunter gather and concluded in your seemingly infinite wisdom that he or she has no sense of self awareness, has no feelings of anger , rage , happiness , jealousy , sadness or love. These things are just…er…"bourgeois ideology" and "ruling class ideas". Presumably when the hunter gatherer reports to the anthropologist or to another hunter gatherer that he or she dislike some member of the band we should altogether discount this. According to you such a person is incapable of reflective conscious thought and presumably is to be regarded a "mere machine" as Descartes said of animals.You remind me of the case of Albert Magnus, the 13th century scholar, whose pupils included St Thomas Acquinas. Magnus argued that while humans were indeed distinguishable from "the brutes", the latter could be divided into true animals and manlike creatures or "similitudines homines" which included also, in his view, pygmies. Not even the obvious ability of pygmies to speak convinced Magnus that they warranted being categorised as "true humans" since their speech, he claimed, was more akin to the mimicry of parrots: "Pygmies do not speak through reason but by the instinct of nature". Except of course in your case its a case of pygmies not having an "interior subjective life". The only thing that is "infinite" from where I am standing, LBird is not your wisdom but your colossal arrogance compounded by the fact that you make absolutely no attempt whatsoever to justify your outrageous nonsensical claims about your fellow human beingsFebruary 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm #109570robbo203 wrote:Another misrepresentation. I have constantly pointed out that its a two way thing, not a one way thing. If you only see me talking about individuals that is because you have probably subconsciously blocked out the other side of the equation which I have also stressed – because it suits you to do so.
Right, 'two-way'. I get it. I've 'subconsciously blocked out'.robbo203 wrote:…he or she has no sense of self awareness, has no feelings of anger , rage , happiness , jealousy , sadness or love.
Err… 'one-way'. No socio-economic context, or power relationships, just 'individual feelings'. The eternal, universal 'biology' of humans.robbo203 wrote:I repeat my position is neither an individualistic one nor a holistic one but an intermediate one. Kindly stop misrepresenting me!
There's nothing 'intermediate' in your statements, robbo.I'm not 'misrepresenting' you, merely reading what you write, and drawing ideological conclusions based upon your words, about your ideology.You're the one who sees similarities between 'individual' hunter-gatherers and 'individual' proletarians, based upon biology. If anyone is 'subconsciously blocking out', it's you.You don't locate 'hunter-gatherers' within their society, and contrast them with 'proletarians' within their society, which is necessary because the two sets of 'individuals' [sic] live in very different societies.When I point out that this 'comparing' of asocial and ahistoric 'individuals' is an ideological approach to anthropology, and point out that both you and many 'anthropologists' share this ideology, and contrast it to, for example, Marx's notions of 'modes of production', you don't like it.I'm not misrepresenting you, robbo. Or indeed YMS.For example, I'd compare/contrast 'hunter-gatherers' with 'workers', and openly state that my basis of this act was my Communism.I want to know, for example, Pinker's ideology. Or the political ideology of the other anthropologists mentioned earlier.My method doesn't allow the simple quoting of 'authorities' and their 'facts', and their being taken at 'face value'.Any critical approach to anthropology must involve a critical view of anthropologists. Especially their ideological starting point. And ours.February 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm #109571
I'm going to regret this: but isn't ideology intrinsic (inherent) in the utterence? i.e. don't we address ideology by dealing with the expressed ideas, rather than seeking an additional text in the formal account of the utterances conditions?February 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm #109572Young Master Smeet wrote:I'm going to regret this: but isn't ideology intrinsic (inherent) in the utterence? i.e. don't we address ideology by dealing with the expressed ideas, rather than seeking an additional text in the formal account of the utterances conditions?
I'd simply ask, YMS, why you and robbo keep using the loaded term 'individuals'.Why use an ideological term so closely connected to the bourgeoisie?Why draw parallels between 'individuals' who live in very different societies, which is also a method used as an ideological justification for 'what exists, now' by showing the alleged 'similarities' with 'what existed, then'?If neither you nor robbo share neither ideology nor method with the bourgeoisie (as you both say that you don't), why employ the ideology of 'individuals' and the comparative method of 'sameness'.Especially as the 'individuality' being expressed is one of 'biological traits' ('that we all share, after all, we're all humans, we individuals', implying bosses and workers, being 'human' should look to their similarities), rather than emphasise the contrast and vast differences between societies and their production methods.What's the fascination with 'individuals', for alleged socialists?Do you think that it's just pure coincidence that you've grown up in a bourgeois society, and you constantly talk about 'individuals'? And their 'freedom' and 'free association', etc.I don't think that it's pure coincidence, comrades.February 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm #109573
1) We do share the same biology. That is the basic fact.2) The common ground of humanity is a necessary component of understanding the difference in circumstance.3) There is no such thing as the masses, there are only concrete subjects in concrete circumstances.Or, put another way:Quote Bomb wrote:The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way.The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature.
Thus, hunter gatherer bands of a specific type (the immediate gratification kind) tend towards small mobile groups, with limited possessions, wherein individual humans can wander off and join other bands, and in which no material bonds are formed other than direct exposure to nature.There is more than this, but that is the rock bottom.
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