Hunter gatherer violence
June 2023 › Forums › General discussion › Hunter gatherer violence
- This topic has 307 replies, 20 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by ZJW.
March 13, 2017 at 7:32 am #109844robbo203Participantalanjjohnstone wrote:Just to pick up on this thread, this article and the research it links to may be of interest. .."…this study reveals that violence is explained by resource scarcity and not political organization…."Quote:The findings overturn one theory of violence in prehistoric societies, which said that while societies were small-scale and politically simple, their existence would have been much more peaceful than modern societies."This study provides no support for the position that violence originated with the development of more complex hunter-gatherer adaptations in the fairly recent past," the study authors write in the paper. "Instead, findings show that individuals are prone to violence in times and places of resource scarcity."
I would seriously question some of the journalistic spin put by the author of the IBT article, Martha Henriques, on the research findings she refers to. In particular this: There was never a peaceful past where everyone got along in prehistoric North American societies – small scale societies in what is now central California where quick to become violent when food and other resources were scarce,an archaeological study finds, Prehstoric Californians who lived 1530 to 230 years ago used a range of weapons on each other There are several problems with this statement: 1) it is generalising from the Californian data to "North American societies" as a whole which is inadmissable in terms of the basic hypothesis itself inasmuch as the particular make up of California's maritime resources e,g, shellfish were prone to rapid overexploitation and the region had a relatively high population density anyway by comparison with the interior2) the data refers to the period 1530 to 230 years ago but there is evidence of human populations going back 15,000 years ago and more. About 8000 years ago there was apparently a movement from the interior to the coast augmenting the population in the region. Though I cannot access the original PNAS research article it does not seem to support the conclusion that violence was endemic in California prior to 1530 years ago. Beside Henriques contradicts herself when she says"There was never a peaceful past where everyone got along in prehistoric North American societies" and then that "small scale societies in what is now central California where quick to become violent " since that presupposes a time when they were not violent I dont question the main argument being offered that it is resource scarcity that leads to violence but the classic response of small scale HG "immediate return" bands to move on when food resources like game declined and became scare in a particular locality, Mobility circumvents the need for violence and this same mobility shows itself within the structure of the band itself which is highly fluid and liable to fissioning, This is why intra-group conflict tended to be minimised. If you dont like somebody in your group , you split off with your close kin from the group and move elsewhere. You vote with your feet. This can happen anyway as part of a survival strategy in the face of resource constraints and declining carrying capacity The evidence seems to be suggest that this key strategy – mobility – in the hunter gatherer's surivival tool box was being increasingly undermined in the face of rsing population in Californa at this time. As far as it goes that supports the hypothesis but you cannot reasonably extrapolate from this evidence and apply it to hunter gatherer band societies in general. There are numerous counter examples to refute any such suggestionDecember 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm #109845robbo203ParticipantDecember 24, 2017 at 5:37 pm #109846Major McPharterParticipant
Lets get on you tube. look up the verve Bitter sweet symphony. Over 366 Million hits Yes i repeat over 366 million hits. This song goes trying to make ends meets You are a slave to meney then you die. at the moment some good saocialist banter is going on this page so come on get on there and help out Please.December 24, 2017 at 8:23 pm #109847moderator1Participant
Reminder: 1. The general topic of each forum is given by the posted forum description. Do not start a thread in a forum unless it matches the given topic, and do not derail existing threads with off-topic posts.December 25, 2017 at 1:07 am #109848alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
I read the article but it seems to ignore that in modern war casualties are now mostly civilian from famine and disease caused by the direct consequences of war.Perhaps even in the past, figures did not include those who died from the results of armies foraging – a polite term for looting – food from the surrounding areas.Perhaps there is an equivalent death toll from the modern bombardment cities and the starvation of besieged cities.The difficulty for historians is determining those figures hence they ignore it and focus on more easily acquired statistics.February 18, 2019 at 9:11 am #183595ZJWParticipant
Richard B Lee:
‘Hunter-Gatherers and Human Evolution: New Light on Old Debates’ (2018):February 18, 2019 at 10:51 am #183599alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
It’s a long readJune 7, 2021 at 9:18 am #218917ZJWParticipant
In the June 2021 Brooklyn Rail / Field notes:
Chris Knight: ‘Did communism make us human? — On the anthropology of David Graeber’:
He opposes Graeber’s insistence on the non-existence of primitive communism and demonstrates the opposite.
Some keywords: ‘immediate return’, ‘delayed return’ …. ‘selfish gene’.
- This reply was modified 2 years ago by ZJW.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.