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. . . an Anthropological Perspective - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

WARFARE . . . . . . an Anthropological Perspective. WARFARE A constant cannot explain a variable. Proximate vs. Ultimate cause Positive vs. Negative feedback systems Resource Competition * * * * * Infrastructure  Structure  Superstructure

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. . . an Anthropological Perspective


A constant cannot explain a variable.

Proximate vs. Ultimate cause

Positive vs. Negative feedback systems

Resource Competition

* * * * *


ResourceConflictMale Supremacy

Competition Warfare Complex



Scale and Intensity of Warfare

  • Warfare

    • Conflict

  • Competition

  • Population / Resources

  • Chimpanzee Warfare

    • Chimpanzee Warfare

    • In 1968, Jane Goodall stopped feeding bananas to the Chimps at Gombe.

    • 2.Chimps gradually split into two separate groups:

      • the larger Kasakela Community to the north.

      • the slightly smaller group of about a dozen chimps that moved south to the Kahama Valley.

    • By 1972, the Kahana group had become a completely separate community.

    • 4.At about the same time, parties of Kasakela males began making repeated forays south.

    • Chimpanzee Warfare (cont.):

      • 5.Early in 1974, a gang of 5 Kasakela chimps from the northern group killed a single male from the southern group.

        • --He was never seen again.

      • 6.One month later, 3 Kasakela males caught one of the prime Kahana males and severely beat him.

    • --He was never seen again.

      • 7.Later that year, 5 Kasakela males attacked Goliath (a Kahana male) and severely beat him.

    • --He was never found again.

    • Chimpanzee Warfare(cont.):

      • 8.In 1975, 4 Kasakela males caught an old female, named MadamBee and beat her until she was inert.

        • She died 5 days after the attack.

        • Her daughter, Honey Bee, cared for her until she died.

    • 9.Early in 1977, several males from the northern Kasakela group attacked and killed Charlie, a southern Kahanna male.

    • 10.Late in 1977, 5 Kasakelamales from the north pounced on Sniff, the soleremaining Kahanna male, and left him with a broken leg and bleeding from countless wounds.

    Significant Features of Chimpanzee Warfare:

    1.Gradual exterminationof one community by


    2.Raids occurred over a period of6 years.

    3.Northern males werenotsimplydefending


    --most attacks weredeep into the southern


    4.The entire Kasakela group nowtravels, feeds and

    sleepsfreely throughout the southern area.

    Ecological Context of Chimpanzee Warfare:


    a.Passion and Pom (ate5 of the 6 babies born in one year and

    may have eaten as many as 10 babiesover a 4-year period).

    b.Bodies of at least 3 malesnever found.


    a.Chimps are omnivorous and feedindividually.

    b.Cooperation occurs onlyduringhunting.

    --mostly baboons and small antelope.

    c.Food sharing occurs only with meat

    d.30 chimps at Gombe made about 40 kills per year.

    --about one kill every 9 days.

    • Ecological Context of Chimpanzee Warfare (cont.):

    • 3.Tool Use:

    • a.termite sticks

      • nutritional value of insects

      • made for future use

  • b.sponges

  • c.toilet paper

  • d.nests

  • Ecological Context of Chimpanzee Warfare (cont.):

    4.Comparison of Gombe Chimps with Budongo Chimps.

    a.Tool use found only at Gombe.

    b.Hunting and food sharing found only at Gombe.

    c.Cannibalism found only at Gombe.

    d.Warfare found only at Gombe.

    5.Population Pressure

    a.20 square miles needed to support 1 chimp at Gombe

    b.Budongo rain forest supports 17 chimps in 1 square mile.

    c. Budongo forest can support about 300 times as many

    chimps per square mile as Gombe.

    “Well, well --another blonde hair. . . . Conducting more ‘research’ with that Jane Goodall Tramp?”



    Maximal Lineages

    Minimal Lineages

    Segmentary Lineage Organization

    Lineage Membership and Residence









    Segmentary Lineage and Political Expansion

    * * *

    Systems expand, not necessarily people




    Somali Expansion in the Horn of Africa

    Yanomamo Warfare


    A constant cannot explain a variable.

    Proximate vs. Ultimate cause

    Positive vs. Negative feedback systems

    Resource Competition

    Protein Scarcity vs. Protein Deficiancy

    * * * * *


    ResourceConflictWeiteri Complex

    Competition Warfare



    Chagnon vs. Harris

    Causes of Yanomamo Warfare

    Chagnon:--Fighting over Women

    --”We like meat, but we like women better.”

    Harris:--Protein Scarcity

    --Mechanism of Population Control

    --Male Supremacy Complex

    --female infanticide

    Chagnon vs. Harris

    Problems with Their Explanations

    Chagnon:--Female shortage created by Yanomamo themselves.

    --Only raid villages for women with which raiding already

    exists. (Warfare, therefore, not explained.)

    --proximate explanation

    -- emic explanation

    Harris:--Protein Scarcity vs. Protein Deficiency (Big Mac)

    --Yanomamo Shamatari population increase

    -- from 200 to 2,000 people, 1900 – 1970

    -- 1,000% increase over 70 years = 14% increase

    per year

    Evidence of Protein Scarcity

    1.Five-day hunting expeditions with no success.

    2.Primary game animal: Monkeys and other solitary animals

    3.Lower protein consumption

    a. less than other Amazonian Indians.

    b. Less than the Dobe Ju/’hoansi

    4.Reliance on insects for food. (cost/benefit)

    5.Evidence of recent adaptation

    a. Boil bananas only

    b. Fish only with poison

    c. Poorly constructed canoes

    Amazonian Indians

    Protein Consumption

    Alliance SpiralWarfare Spiral



    ReciprocityWoman ExchangeRaid

    The Feast

    Spear Fights

    Balanced Mutual Feasting

    Reciprocity Ax Fights

    Club Fights

    Side-Slapping Duels

    Negative Sporadic and Chest-Pounding Duels

    Reciprocity Reciprocal


    Yanomamo Politics: Alliance vs. Warfare

    House Temperature Decreases

    Furnace Restores House Temperature

    Negative Feedback System

    • Neutron Bomb

    • Positive Feedback System

      • M.I.R.V.

  • I.C.B.M.

  • Hydrogen Bomb

  • Atomic Bomb

  • Yanomamo Positive-Feedback System

    Population Pressure

    Central VillagesPeripheral Villages

    Larger VillagesSmaller Villages

    40 – 25025 - 100

    Villages CloserVillages Dispersed

    higher density lower density

    Warfare ConstantRaiding less Frequent

    Patanowa-teri raided some villages not involved

    25 times in one year in raids for over 5 years

    Alliance SystemAlliance System


    Population Pressure


    Central VillagesPeripheral Villages


    greater authority little authority

    during warfare


    more importantlessimportant


    more elaborate less elaborate

    Weiteri ComplexWeiteri Complex

    more pronounced less pronounced

    Population Pressure


    Central VillagesPeripheral Villages

    Female InfanticideFemale Infanticide



    0-14: 157 / 1000-14: 121 / 100

    all ages: 130 / 100all ages: 115 / 100


    absent practiced

    sexual liaisons is polyandry and sexual

    primary source of liaisons institutionalized

    conflict in village

    Yanomamo Village Expansion

    Yanomamo Sociopolitical Evolution

    Plains Indian Warfare


    1.Plains Indian subsistence behavior, social

    organization and warfare evolved as

    predictable outcomes of changes in

    demography, population-resource relations

    andlabor requirements, as well as increasing

    resource competition.

    2.The evolution of Plains Indian ecology and

    warfare constituted apositive-feedback

    systemresulting from the infusion ofnew

    subsistence technologiesand anew

    productive relationshipbetween Indians

    and resources.

    Impact of the Horse and Gun on Bison Hunting:

    1.Changed thespatial relationshipbetween

    Indians and bison

    2.Increasedsize of hunting territory

    3.Increased thespeedandeffectivenessof

    the buffalo hunt

    4.Increasedreliabilityof hunting

    5.Reducedper capita labor costs(cost/benefit)

    6.Individualizedbison hunting

    7.Industrializedthe hunt

    • Impact of the Hide Trade on Bison Hunting:

    • 1.ChangedPopulation/Resource (P/R)relationship

    • between Indians and bison

    • 2.Shift fromsubsistencetocommercialeconomy

    • 3.Individual male Indians becameself-employed

    • entrepreneurs

    • 4.Producers on the margins of an expandingglobal

    • economy

    Infrastructural Changes:

    1.Increasedimmigration onto the Plains

    2.Dramatic increase in the size of the Plains

    Indian Population

    3. Precipitous decline in the size of the bison




    Immigration onto the Plains

    Decline in Bison Population



    1800 40,000,000

    1850 20,000,000

    1865 15,000,000


    1870 14,000,000

    1880 395,000

    1889 1,091

    Early Reports of Indian Food Shortages:

    1850: Comanche reported eating their horses and

    raiding New Mexico settlements for food.

    1853: Cheyenne and Arapaho reported spending

    half the year in a state of starvation.

    Increasing hunting pressure on bison led to a greater “massing” of bison herds and to increased local variation in bison availability.

    * * * * *

    This resulted in reduced access to bison for some Plains Indian groups.

    Size of Herd Sightings Increased with Time

    Causes of Decline in Bison Numbers:


    2.Grazing competition




    Structural Changes:

    1.Evolution ofindependentfamily

    2.Increase inpolygyny


    4.Emergingclass differentiation


    6.Evolution of political-militaryalliances

    7.Increasing importance ofmilitary societies

    "There were many brave and successful warriors of the Cheyenne who never went on …(scalping expeditions)…, who on their war journeys tried to a void coming in close contact with enemies. Such men went to war for the sole purpose of increasing their possessions by capturing horses: that is, they carried on war as a business--for profit. Some of these men who possessed high reputation for courage, success, and general well-doing-- made it their boast that they never killed a man, and perhaps never counted coup.

    --George Grinnell

    Increase in Polygyny:

    "A Plains Indian with only one wife would always be poor, but it is a fine sight to see one of those big men among the Blackfeet, who has two or three lodges, five or six wives, twenty or thirty children, and fifty to a hundred head of horses; for his trade amounts to upward of $2,000 a year, and I assure you such a man has a great deal of dignity about him."

    --Charles Larpenteur

    Emerging Class Differentiation:

    "In contrast to an ondei son, …(a lower rank son)… has had to think first of economic returns and secondarily of brave deeds, of coup counts. ... Given a situation in which an enemy has fallen from (his) horse, the young …(lower rank)… warrior is torn between counting coup and riding after the enemy's horse. The rich man's decision is much simpler; he counts coup."

    --Mishkin (1940)

    Enculturation of Martial Values:

    "A man could not even court a girl unless he had proved his courage. That is one reason why so many were so anxious to win good war records. They were all afraid of what people, and especially the women, would say if they were cowardly. The women even had a song they would sing about a man whose courage had failed him. 'If you are afraid when you charge, turn back. The desert women will eat you.' It was hard to go into a fight, and they were often afraid, but it was worse to turn back and face the women."

    --John Stands-in-Timber

    Plains Indians generally believed that buffalo were supernatural in origin and existed in limitless numbers underground. A Bison Calling Ceremony was performed each year to coax them from their underground shelters.

    “In 1881, representatives of many tribes assembled on the North Fork of the Red River for the Kiowa Sun Dance where a Kiowa shaman named Buffalo Coming Out vowed to call on the herds to re-emerge from the ground. The Kiowa believed the bison had gone into hiding in the earth, and they still call a peak in the Wichita Mountains "Hiding Mountain."

    Plains Indian



    Assiniboine- Cree




    I have to stop now!

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