By James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray
This publication explores the position of aggression in primate social platforms and its implications for human habit.
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Extra resources for Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates
Will insight be limited to the small scale, personalized "almost-war" of traditional hunting-gathering and horticultural societies or will we gain some significant understanding of the massive, frequently remote and impersonal, violence characteristics of warfare in industrialized societies? In his 1990 Croonian lecture on "The Interdependence of the Behavioural 26 AGGRESSION AND PEACEFULNESS IN HUMANS AND OTHER PRIMATES Sciences" Hinde raises the possibility that the portrayal of, say, "aggressive" baboons fighting one another might have little to tell us about human warfare because war is a social institution, a collection of prescribed roles: [I]t is the rights and duties attendant on their roles in the institution of war that constitute the primary motivating forces for individuals in wartime.
The least controversial use is to remind us that not all agonistic episodes threaten to destroy social life. The difficulty with this usage is that the term "pro-social" connotes something more than the point that violence may occur without totally destroying the flow of social behavior. Further, the distinction between an agonistic episode that is pro-social and one that is resolved quickly is difficult to operationalize. Strayer and Noel's discussion captures the positive connotation of the term and suggests some political implications of its use: Both the ultimate strength and the inevitable weakness of this [prosocial versus antisocial] distinction arise from its direct focus on the complex relationship between the individual and his social world.
Recently Mori et al. (1989) analyzed 29 years of data on female dominance relations in the Koshima troop of Japanese macaques. Data on the Arashiyama troop of Japanese macaques (with a daughter troop in Texas) started in 1954 (Koyama 1967, 1970; Fedigan et al. 1986). Long-term data permit analysis of intergenerational change and stability in dominance relationships. , troop demography, lineage ranking, kin support) that decide an animal's dominance history. Further, multigenerational data permit us to correlate changes in dominance relationships with changes in environmental resources.