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Shaking the tyrant’s bloody robe: An evolutionary perspective on ethnoreligious violence

  • Jordan Kiper (a1) and Richard Sosis (a1)
Abstract

Group violence, despite much study, remains enigmatic. Its forms are numerous, its proximate causes myriad, and the interrelation of its forms and proximate causes poorly understood. We review its evolution, including preadaptations and selected propensities, and its putative environmental and psychological triggers. We then reconsider one of its forms, ethnoreligious violence, in light of recent discoveries in the behavioral and brain sciences. We find ethnoreligious violence to be characterized by identity fusion and by manipulation of religious traditions, symbols, and systems. We conclude by examining the confluence of causes and characteristics before and during Yugoslavia’s wars of disintegration.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence: Jordan Kiper, M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, 354 Mansfield Road, U-2176, Storrs, CT 06269-2176. Email: jordan.kiper@uconn.edu
Richard Sosis, Ph.D., James Barnett Professor of Humanistic Anthropology and Director of the Evolution, Cognition, and Culture Program, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, 354 Mansfield Road, U-2176, Storrs, CT 06269-2176. Email: richard.sosis@uconn.edu
References
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210Armata, J., Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), p. 192.
211Tanner, M., Croatia: A Nation Forged in War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010).
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Politics and the Life Sciences
  • ISSN: 0730-9384
  • EISSN: 1471-5457
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-the-life-sciences
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