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PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF AGGRESSION: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES
Fry, Douglas P.
Developmental Psychology Program, Åbo Akademi, Finland.
papers in this symposium illustrate some of the diverse approaches to studying
the influence of cultural factors on the prevention and control of aggressive
behavior. The levels of analysis
range from a focus on interpersonal aggression to the consideration of warfare.
One approach represented in this symposium, usually called “cross-cultural
research” within anthropology, uses the Human Relations Area Files as a source
of cross-cultural data for hypotheses testing. Another method reflected in this
symposium involves documenting aggression preventive and/or control mechanisms
that operate within a particular cultural context. A third approach utilizes
case studies or selected cultural comparisons to explore patterns and variations
in the control and/or prevention of aggression.
Many of the papers include discussions of policy implications and/or
practical applications related to preventing and controlling aggression,
IS-6.1.-FATHER-ABSENCE AND MALE AGGRESSION: A RE-EXAMINATION OF THE
C.R. and Ember, M.
Human Relations Area Files at Yale University, USA.
1965, Beatrice B. Whiting published an article on sex identity conflict and its
association with physical violence. While subsequent worldwide cross-cultural
research has been equivocal regarding the "sex-identity conflict"
hypothesis, we suggest that this may be because researchers have failed to pay
attention to B. Whiting's contingent conditions—the amount of power men have
compared with women and the degree to which aggression is considered a component
of the male adult role. Using multiple regression analysis and data from a
worldwide cross-cultural sample, we examine how homicide/assault rates are
affected by how far away fathers sleep from children, the degree to which
aggression is explicitly encouraged, and the degree of corporal punishment.
Unexpectedly, degree of corporal punishment has no effect on rates of violence.
The new analyses suggest opposite effects of degree to which the father is the
corporal punisher versus degree to which the mother is the corporal punisher. We
discuss the implications of these results for the prevention and control of
IS-6.2.-EMPATHY MITIGATES AGGRESSION, BUT SOCIAL
INTELLIGENCE WITHOUT EMPATHY INCREASES INDIRECT, VERBAL, AND PHYSICAL AGGRESSION
Österman, K. and Kaukiainen*, A
Developmental Psychology Program, Åbo Akademi University, Finland. *Psychology Department, Turku University, Finland.
training is known to reduce aggressive behavior (N. D. Feshbach, 1989). Social
intelligence is likely to be a necessary component for successful conflict
behavior, prosocial as well as antisocial. While empathy and social intelligence
are strongly correlated, it is therefore, due to logical and consequential
reasons, important to treat them as different concepts. In the present study,
the relationships between peer-estimated conflict behavior, social intelligence,
and empathy was studied in 203 adolescents (f = 110, m = 93; mean age 12, sd =
0.8). Instruments used: The Direct & Indirect Aggression Scales; Peer-Estimated Empathy, and Peer-Estimated
Social Intelligence. As hypothesized, it was found that social intelligence
was required for all types of conflict behavior, but the presence of empathy
acted as a mitigator of aggression. When empathy was partialed out, correlations
between social intelligence and all types of aggression increased, while
correlations between social intelligence and peaceful conflict resolution
decreased. Social intelligence was related differently to various forms of
aggressive behavior: more strongly to indirect than to verbal aggression, and
weakest to physical aggression, which is in accordance with the developmental
theory of aggressive style. More sophisticated forms of aggression require more
IDENTITY, AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts, and Departments of Anthropology and International Relations, Syracuse University, USA.
involving "collapsed" systems of governance, human rights abuses,
forced population transfers, "ethnic cleansing," and medical and
famine emergencies are increasingly characteristic of the final years of the 20th
century. Past multilateral actions depended upon peacekeeping, largely
controlled by states and their militaries. The international community's
response to "complex emergencies" has changed the nature and scope of
such interventions. Now they additionally involve international agencies,
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and direct action by people from outside
the conflict area. Many such organizations and actors seek to provide
humanitarian aid, and such efforts have become the subject of intense political
manipulation and violence: i.e., Red Cross workers killed in Chechnya, food
convoys hijacked and used to support combatants, and medical personnel in
Somalia forced to engage local militias for protection. Drawing upon
ethnographic interviews and fieldwork, this paper explores how multiple layers
of identity manipulated by those involved in conflict resolution efforts are
reshaping the landscape of humanitarian intervention.
Anthropology and Sociology Department, Kenyon College, USA.
contrast to recent political, scholarly, and public misuse of the term, this
paper articulates a more accurate definition of the hostage concept. This definition is not only consistent with a broad range of
etymological sources, but is also in agreement with
numerous examples from the historical and anthropological record.
A possible application of the hostage idea to mid/late-twentieth-century
superpower relationships, utilizing a very different approach to the concept of
deterrence, is also described. Attention
is further called to the fact that the giving of hostages as confidence-building
“emissaries of trust” incorporates several attributes that might be of
interest to contemporary evolutionary theorists.
A closer examination of the biological and behavioral underpinnings, the
historical and anthropological precedents, and the political and psychological
efficacy of this ancient idea might therefore prove to be a fruitful area for
future empirical and theoretical research.
IS-6.5.-WAR AND VIOLENCE: POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH
Ember, M. and
Human Relations Area Files at Yale University, USA.
worldwide cross-research suggests that a society’s involvement in war may lead
parents to socialize boys for aggression. Such socialization is a major
predictor of homicide and assault. If we want to reduce violence of all kinds
and the necessity to train for it, reducing war may be necessary.
Is the reduction or elimination of war a realistic possibility, given the
anthropological record? We believe the answer to this question is yes and that
it is not utopian to think so. We say this because the results of our
cross-cultural studies of war and peace suggest practical policies that could
reduce or eliminate the likelihood of war. We assume that most people would
choose to solve their problems peacefully, if they could. The policies discussed
here, if adopted by this and other powerful countries, could make it more likely
that people would go to peace rather than war to solve their problems. The
suggested policies are not just wishful thinking; in some respects they are
extensions of things already being done. We discuss the suggested policies after
we review the cross-cultural results on predictors of war and the link between
war and rates of homicide and assault.
ALTERNATIVES TO WAR: INSIGHTS FROM ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH
Developmental Psychology Program, Åbo Akademi University & Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona, USA.
findings on war, peace, conflict, and conflict management suggest a variety of
insights for building and preserving peace.
This paper explores some of the anthropological research that may have
relevance for developing alternatives to war.
First, two general insights stem from anthropology: 1) war is not
an inevitable aspect of human nature, and 2) human societies and social
organizations are flexible, making the human potential for social change
immense. These points are briefly
illustrated. For example,
cross-cultural comparisons show that warfare, while common, is not universal
(and therefore not inevitable), cultures with extremely low levels of aggression
(“peaceful cultures”) do exist, and examples of cultures shifting from war
to peace, sometimes very rapidly, also speak against the inevitability of war. Second, several more specific anthropological insights
related to developing alternatives to war are considered.
These include 1) realization of between-group interdependence, 2) the
influences of attitudes, values, and belief systems, 3) the role of
super-ordinate authority structures, 4) the existence of alternative conflict
management mechanisms, and 5) the reduction of resource and social inequities.