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The Anthropology of War
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  • 4 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.55 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 303.6/6
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: GN497 .A58 1990
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Military art and science

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521380423 | ISBN-10: 0521380421)

The book brings together a group of authors who are addressing the nature and causes of warfare in simpler, tribal societies. The authors represent a range of different opinions about why humans engage in warfare, why wars start, and the role of war in human evolution. Warfare in cultures from several different world areas is considered, ranging from the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Andes, the Southwestern US, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and Malaysia. To explain the origins and maintenance of war in tribal societies, different authors appeal to a broad spectrum of demographic, environmental, historical and biological variables. Competing explanatory model of warfare are presented with overlapping bodies of data offered in support of each model.


List of contributors; Preface; 1. Conference overview Clark McCauley; 2. Explaining war R. Brian Ferguson; 3. Motivations and material causes on the explanation of conflict and war Clayton Robarchek; 4. Reproductive and somatic conflicts of interest in the genesis of violence and warfare among tribesmen Napolean Chagnon; 5. Uneasy peace: intertribal relations in Brazil's Upper Xingu Thomas Gregor; 6. Raiding, trading, and tribal autonomy in insular Southeast Asia Thomas Gibson; 7. The Snake Warriors - Sons of the Tiger's Teeth: a descriptive analysis of Carib warfare ca. 1500–1820 Neil Whitehead; 8. Warfare and the evolution of tribal politics in the prehistoric Southwest Jonathan Haas; 9. Chiefdom-level warfare as exemplified in Fiji and the Cauca Valley Robert Carneiro; References; Index.


'… this stimulating collection of views … contributes a great deal to our understanding of how and why peoeple insult, attack, wound or kill each other, as well as the economic, political and ideological imperatives that are at work.' New Scientist


Clark McCauley, R. Brian Ferguson, Clayton Robarchek, Napolean Chagnon, Thomas Gregor, Thomas Gibson, Neil Whitehead, Jonathan Haas, Robert Carneiro

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