The Human Potential for Peace

The Human Potential for Peace : An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions About War and Violence

4.38 (21 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The Human Potential for Peace provides a clearly written, critical re-evaluation of anthropological findings on violence, war, peace, and conflict management. Drawing upon anthropological data from both cultural studies and evolutionary biology, this volume challenges the traditional view that humans are naturally violent and warlike and argues that we, in fact, possess a strong ability to prevent, limit, and resolve conflicts. In a highly readable style, the book critiques the assumptions, methodology, and logic of some previous studies, demonstrating a recurring bias in the literature that overemphasizes war and violence and ignores the human ability to resolve most conflicts without violence. Among the highly publicized anthropological controversies he examines are Derek Freeman's analysis of Margaret Mead's writings on Samoan warfare, Napoleon Chagnon's claims about the Yanomami, and ongoing debates about whether "hunter-gatherers" are peaceful or warlike. The book also employs short ethnographic examples, findings from the author's own research among the Zapotec of Mexico, results of cross-cultural studies on warfare, descriptions of peaceful societies, and archaeological material to illustrate that peacemaking and conflict resolution patterns do exist across cultures and that non-warring societies exist in substantial numbers.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 160 x 236.2 x 22.9mm | 635.04g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 30 halftones, 12 line illus.
  • 0195181778
  • 9780195181777

Review quote

"The Human Potential for Peace is a real achievement, the first systematic book of its kind, and a welcome part of the anthropological literature. I especially liked the sweep of the book, which broadly covers both the history of aggression as well as the ethnographic record, moving forward to contemporary society and applied implications."--Thomas A. Gregor, Professor of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University"This is an important book, and a serious one, although it is enlivened with a number of anecdotes and personal reminiscences. The book has great strengths, including breadth of scholarship in different areas, as well as a critical depth in tackling some common assumptions and cited conclusions."--Peter K. Smith, Department of Psychology, University College London http: //www.israsociety.com/bulletin/isradec2005.pdf Read the full review here."Amongst the various anthropological texts that have emerged over the last decade, this is clearly one of the most important. At a time when practitioners in the social sciences continue to haggle over the relative merits of interdisciplinary approaches, of paradigm shifts, and of the role of war and peace in human endeavors, this book strikes a relevant chord. Douglas Fry reminds us that in the human experience it is neither solely nature nor nurture, neither aggression nor camaraderie, rather it is a complex synthesis of human endeavors resulting in a clear and resounding potential for peace."--Agustin Fuentes, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame http: //www.peacefulsocieties.org/NAR/051222gen.html Read the full review here." "The Human Potential for Peace is a real achievement, the first systematic book of its kind, and a welcome part of the anthropological literature. I especially liked the sweep of the book, which broadly covers both the history of aggression as well as the ethnographic record, moving forward to contemporary society and applied implications."--Thomas A. Gregor, Professor of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University"This is an important book, and a serious one, although it is enlivened with a number of anecdotes and personal reminiscences. The book has great strengths, including breadth of scholarship in different areas, as well as a critical depth in tackling some common assumptions and cited conclusions."--Peter K. Smith, Department of Psychology, University College London http: //www.israsociety.com/bulletin/isradec2005.pdf Read the full review here."Amongst the various anthropological texts that have emerged over the last decade, this is clearly one of the most important. At a time when practitioners in the social sciences continue to haggle over the relative merits of interdisciplinary approaches, of paradigm shifts, and of the role of war and peace in human endeavors, this book strikes a relevant chord. Douglas Fry reminds us that in the human experience it is neither solely nature nor nurture, neither aggression nor camaraderie, rather it is a complex synthesis of human endeavors resulting in a clear and resounding potential for peace."--Agustin Fuentes, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame http: //www.peacefulsocieties.org/NAR/051222gen.html Read the full review here."show more

Rating details

21 ratings
4.38 out of 5 stars
5 62% (13)
4 19% (4)
3 14% (3)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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