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THE

ANTHROPOlOGY
OFWAR
Jonalhan Haas
Pub i.hed by 1M Prat uf !he UniYemty 01 Cmblidle
The PltI B\!!iId!lII. 1h!q!npn Qm.bliclpCBl lRP
10 WeslZOth Stied. ttir Yofk. NY lOO)). USA
Qlkkich. Mdbourne JI66. AUllnlli
e Otmbrid# UnMrsU Ptm 1990
First publishcd 1990
BritWl Libta,., ed,o.I""" publlccI'ion dallJ
The mlh.QIY of ", .. r. - (Sehool ofAmeric:a:n
RataICh Id",ncdxmlnar series.)(A Khaol
uf American Resarch boot)
J
..... ..r_ "-lit. ,...... 1 n_'"
.. r ... nI! .!VP() ...... c:a. pC'
l. H }onlthtn. J9t9- 11. Serie1
111. Sooriro
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Ubrary M41qu", in publicdtion Jdtd
11Ir anlhrQpolop of Wl.t J editedi by Jonatbtn Hus.
p. cm" -{SdJooJ or Amcrieln Rexal'C'h ednnce.dsemiRlI
feries)
-A &hool of.Amtrican Resaf(h bocil W
(Se
1. Warfut r. HUI, 19f9- . U. Series.
CN497.M8 199(1
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ISB O 5Zl 380m
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Contents
u.t o{ N'I/ributor.
2 EJ,pbin!nc w.,
26
IIN .... w:"Y ...
J MotivatioN.nd eawt:s: on h: npbNtion
ti eme" .d M' )6
n 4XlO! ""'IC!iEl
T1
'"
CONTEHTS
6 Raidin&, lradin&, 1M tribal IUtonny in imulllr
SO!l!bca.1 A'i' 125
......... ASC' .......
8 War&re and lhe evolulion or hibal polili es in Ihe
prehistoric: Soulh'Ut 171
JONAllIMI IIAAS
9 Chiefdom.level d,tine as exempl ified in !'iji and lhe
Cauca Valle)' 190
em' " C UNI'!W)
RJw .. , ..... 212
m
C1ari Richard. Cha;,
Dept. o( f'Jyo:hoIocr. Bryn Ma"T
Col""
CARNElRO. ROOm L.
Amcrian MUl(um of Natural
H;,tory. N ..... Yori
CHACNON.
Dept. of Anthhpolocy. Un;,v;ty
of . .... nlo Ro"",,.
R, Bmn
Dept. of Sociology. Anthropolocy
and Crim;nal/ustice. Ru'Fn
University
"
Contributors
CIBSON. Thomu P.
Dept. of Anth,lJIXIlocY.
of Rochtst ..
CRECOR. 11>omao A.
Dept of Sor;ioIogy and
AnthTOp<Jlosy, V.ndctbilt
Univenily
IIMS. I",.than
Freid ... ltm ni N2h, ... 1 Hi<tt><y.
Santa Fe
ROBAROIEK. C18)1on
Dept . uf Anthropology. Wichilo
State U"'-mity
WHITEHEAD. Ncil Lancdol
o.fu.
2
Explaining war
R. BRJ A N FE,RGUSO .
This PlllJilCIi proposcs a, ma!cliallist s)'nthesis o tow'ams a ,oompre-
hCfliSWe o:pLana:ton 01 'MIr jn stal:cles:s socidies Waf by sbles ,is
,discussed
l
, bu. on])' as th.: e;!i\d point of lhe ralllge being 'cuminoo,
W:n ,it$elf is: difticu:hto ftfine.Ebewbcr,e (Fergu$OD 5) 1
describe the broadCf phcmomcna, undC1ly:ing Wlllias "or,pn"zed,
pulplSCfu) poup ,aetion. ,diJtcd apinst iln.mhcl p0l1P invo]",ing
Che actuall 0,[ palenCia] app]iciilion orlelha! War i not m rely
action. hown'l!f. l is .a oondition of amd bc!:twun ocieties,.
innumerable ,n evef)' dimcniSion ofcu)ture.
&cau.se "t is so 'pcrvlUWe, Ilile and consequetitc;:e:s of
war can bem.d ed' fro:m ,di veDe perspecUvcs" whl,ch can lcad rad' CiIJ] y
difcrent of conc'hl$iolil$, Befo an)' analysis even kgitU. 'CNcia
,decjsiQns h:ave made. Wha.' willl: be: the- fQflQl, of the atl;ll)jsis
- of cawcs
j
d'cmonstration ol functionaJ I'iobgcs,
meflt of subjectivt' ,undcnl3nding? WhiiJt aspeetfs) ,of W'af and $(I(:iely wiU
be the- focU$oftbe invesligation? M:a,t lewW of .analYJ il 2nd wha* time
&ame MEI 'be uscd?'
on, thesc d'ecuions, diril!!fCntanalysts ,oo-uld ]001 at one
case oC M'r .00 oondude .ha. it is al oonA'ct olVcr po1itic .. staM
'NOmen. ulU'ral or trade eoocls ao, of Wtitchcraft
26
be] ' e&,oognUive ,orientatiollls,. pent-up frustraron,. rules oC conftict, or
beJ ieJen.: pe:rwn]tics; a queJt fOl pJCl:stige,rCl,'cnge, security. powe'f.
tfopbies. 01 weaJth. a collefluetilct of mid'cnoopattcflU, leve] of
poUtica[ evoJul&on. ments OlpnizaUoM. or inadequak:
oonAict resolution mechanisrDS,; anll that is gCllletated by il'ldii\lidu,..1
d'cdsions . llbe fUlIlction" ng o $ocietal: selecfOlll.
PossiMy. of tbese conclUS'ons Id be correcto Eadll could
aceurately idcnIlif'y onc aspcd e mulfplcintctactions in olved in
particular cae of
This complelCity be tect'i,gfi a nJ dealt witb. Not h31ving done
so up totbe i$ one rea on _hatanthropologic.Jl o walf
tcoo lo the pamcuhifistic ami cdectic. When
dodevelop, lliley ttnd '0 be non--oomrparable, .allld the poinb a e argued
(1111)' among in one Arguments a:bout Or'eat .Plai
Indmns' warfare fo instance, do Rol (J\redap with ,ilrguments about the
. ortheas1 Woodlands (oompalre Oi,olsi 1984; Trigger 1(76), and nei1her
is cited in the cunelltly hot debates over WjJ in Highland New Guinea
audl Amazonia (se(' Fergwon 1984a: 30-:31). "ncialism i
elfCclable ,gil\l'en the Umtt:ed de ... of gelneral! (hcol)'.
m.ore hypothescs halolc appeared ololcr the years. mos"t of which
wm be mentioned in the tCl(t. Out lhe;e have r.lrely connect:ed to
each other or to olhell' rescarch filndi.ngs.
Cumulative growth in understanding war rcqu'oos hat ameJ be
on (litis explanatoT)" cihaos. We need to
test apinst bur,geoning descri,pt1 ... e (scc Ferguson 198&),
.est jt remain mcrelly raw data:. Wc need .syntheses aE findings, show
whefe approaehes ma)' agml!! . and fO' clarify wherc thc-y dO' noto
Thispapeis a.naHmlpttoconstruct soch a synthcti.c thooy Ol'
mod.e1,one' tltat is. capable of oop' ng with the sociocultural:oomplex'ty
nvolved in war. Jt does no'loenfer on any s,peei6c hypo'hesis.
.he tlheory ieS capahle o genuatina manytesta.ble pml' liDns. T'he
present d'ort is mene dledootivethan inductive. The criterion of fiC wi 1iI.
empinal data is 3IeCOudary lo entena (if the power and
paE5lmooy ofa fewinitial premises:, ,and the Jogicalintegrit)' of the
,e"WJite.
ThellheoIYoutlined bere is .gtnliraUy c:onsistent wHh tibe researl'ch
strategy of otdwral (Hams 1979a:part 1; Price ] (82), evelil
IhQughit significandy from sorne eadier anaWyses of war assooi-
ated with ihat slniltcgy. lnadeqwcies in eallier thoor,etica! conceptiolls
21
R. BRMN FERGUSON
1cd ro' re(ormulatiQD$, which i!iloorpoJa1;ed here. iml udIing a de-
c:mp:lw Os of rundional mooc:ls: a ndlhc conccpt of adapta,tion. al
em.phasiIJ Olil conscious .s!IQtqiizi "g, ]ll!wW of po]tical ,evolution. histori-
cal proccsscs, ,and exp'li.cit' feC:QgDil'on of ,tlle po iMity of mul'liple
]cvc:1s of Irn lysi.s (scc Ferg,u rn 19.84a: 28-3,7). Insddifon, ten: j,s aliJe
major plint whelc ibis th ' Orj' dO\llerges fJom the exiJti'n,g ,cuhural
mattria]j,stic rcsearct., rlr,:3ltegy.
Th ce muwally renforcinK prcmiSCI rn ke his a materialist
ilPllfOach o TIte fird", .he of rhe primacy ,of lhe
a,..... Ba:si .... ,11 -"i" i th -- f - ' ii"' . 'th, al ' ' ia
U
, ', 1 f . lo
L .. __ .. _, .. _ ,y., 'L, ,, ,5 .. 1: __ var,_lue adng, '
dtmQSNphy,. theorganizaf 111 of wofk" ,and inkraction
withtbe narutod Cfiivitonment J.apoe of kmbi"
ecoftOmjcs, a!ild poi itia. alld .ha1 tl1c lalter in ttI ni. oombllle wi.h
intTa5 variables tos 'ape idcolqgical or' sllpcrstructural: p;I,ltcms
(Hams J9?9a: 56). The causal pnlmacy i . cxpre ed both in ehe:
orp niution of s:oci ty, aOO in ns pattemcd n.e\\'
citroumst.anccs.
I disagr witb Har is', {ofRmliatioJil, OWCVCiF, ti Wil: t dura1 sud
supentru wtrd (adon . ho:uld as explan' tions of olher
culrural palteros on])I afterlhe pD.Ssibtlities o . info.dru rum] exl' ::Jn3-
lions havc' exlulUstcd. In my iew. t,l ese are not ,explsll!&lilmy
van bies or oly Keond 'or la t Te' rl. 1b:1 -tri' tkey expedabty will
opcra1e in w-a)'$, dctcrm i'fl,i ng specifi Itlds Qr i$ 3
programmatic diference, alld onc w) i.eh pmwcL tlh. hasis ,of the
$.)lndlas. ro follow.
Thc: pcrspectivc cmS':oycd herc: is ora ne.sted, hicnuchy of con trai.n
inl factor ' , pJogressi.vcly ng po.ssibil ir es. Morc' powerful, ud
--n'"'ra] ,ootlstraim J .. -, (-r b' t - ,-t -.-- fi '-
.. ,. __ .. _ .. , .... ___ T" , .. ,IU_e _o ...... vlW T)' 'ti mo_e J)eC .. e
d'dcnnina,nb find'p about ,he ind.dcfice
and conduct of WIU haw: mado wi1ho'Ut rektcncc lo thc i.nfr:'l$IJUC-
turc', w'bidh I,r,e nevedhele . perfe tleampat'ble l . matcrialli t
.app:r-oach mOled in thi$WOIY. Thc$C find' ngs can be: alllchored na
ndwork of dcductiw J'nl!:qes baKd on millcrial ' t p:remi -- , thus
expandilll tbe- scopc (lf materh111 id explanation and maki ng ti e
incorporatcd 6nd in ,somcth . ng more a, form le IIsscmb ase of
m
lil ... ..... I-w- t f-- " ( " P ' , ]98" 712)
.. _,!'''''' T l.. ... , e _'IiI _ . g KC nc:-c " '. : . , .
of 'h. er.Jfchyof constra hb is oot the onty e
pn:mis:e iln tltis, model. The: secomd ut!l.=t ."ere may be eompctilion
belwccnand se: tion among gmllps., andibat behallioTS ,affecti n,8
28
.ExplainiJW,' Wdr
military abai1y 'tan bernade unifonn in a regioA as groups, wi:tb 1m
cdfccliYe' millitll')' paftems are eJ'mirnatall. Cmllpsdection mooels have
beco lairg:elydiKredited :in biollogy(WilJitllffiS 1966; lWl). Whateverthe
of thosc critiasmslD ,cu]tuTaII prooesses, Haui:s] 984a:
I :JO- 3,3;, lrom ] 919: 10-13), 1Iley ;IrfoC nol the
the $e1e-ctiDD 'isfQ, "trib;" concewntngm iJi.tl'ry capa:city.
rathef' thm f,aOO$;, ",,'hich i . "",hat dile biofogisl$ algue about
tIle mechanism prooucillg group' extinctions - anotheJ thomy
iswe in b' ology - is: wadtself see aroJl] 966; Oltclbeirn 977). Wa filre
ean resol', in the cJi mi natloll of rocal groups by death. di persion, o
,absorption" ]f thei r ou is dlJ lo SODle ,eu ltm'arlpattem ielated to
lhe pf3cticeor war. ilt " , lihlf tha' other gtOlJps willl talkt
.aWfoptiate S!leps, lo avoid a similar fate. e\IIen ir that requir " thal
i,ndiv:'dllal: inteml:s and tendeocies be o.vt:liTUled (sec AlfOOIde-r 2rndl
Bor,pa ]978: 470.-411). Thb jcy!' s appUed -el ewhe!\C lo e pla" n the
of ,ed'isbibut.ive exc-hange . ud as po1Jaich" og am01lg
Nonhwest Coa5t societie'S (Fergu:son ) 98 Ji audl see Barris 1975: 272;
WeMter 1917: ],41).
The ao! finall ma:lefi:d'st prem:ise cancelns motir ation, AU
expl:malion$ of ,3repr,emiiOO on :some <lssl!Jrmrpt ' on$ a:oout human
- - 'ChOIII'>ln! -h these ate USll3tllll - made" - leit. l'l
psy _ -- _ug ________ yo . __ .. eJ> . _ . _ "' _ N
queftion of motivation
f
' elscwhere ,(] 984;il: 37-42), WhCIC ]p:ropose that
three basic ma.tl!fial ma'n l!lilsnoe or impm\o\emenC of ( L)
available resourees. (2) works' tuation " al1ld' (3)SC'C-urriity aga 'nst thfea:1s
,(d. Cha,gnon. this volume ', TheS'e three are.oF c-ourS'e.always
acc1>mpanied by a host ofotkerconct11ls. Undeuomecondirtions. otbCT
non-mal -rial! 8(131$ c3n, otweigh ma,feTia 1 irn;rentivesin ,c!ec-isiom 'o
fight. But in the vi:ew advocatcd heJe those cases WiI'1 be exception!llil .
Non-material goa 15 ",,'H I nol regnlad), lead ro was ulllless tite)' accompan
mate ial: oh 'utives. That is be:cause WilT itsdfty, cal1y in\'OI, es majm
cosU. nos must be emphasizcd: war 'oosb H\lcs.
eft"ort. So, ifthe pJemi e is 00 mct. wemould expedp:aoc
if Ihe 'Proba ' I!c: Ciostsof war ,ar:c nat outwci:ghcd byporentia,l bene6ts.
This jos al$O ,applicable tQ uodershmdli1ilg, tflUi sitioft$ from otile
pb<i$fl: o \V;Ir to, anothe... U is C't).1palibJe witih al p!rspetirYe whioh
messes lile rol'e oI pt.uposcFul dc:cisioll made by dl,inkj IlI,gcu1tuml be'ngs
(,:!ICe Roba!l:chek,. fhisvohuuc:). butoontrad'ctslhe view ihat WU 1$ in
sorne and it .is whichr require:s, e-xpla.nation (see
Gre,sor.thiJ vo)ume) ..
29
R. BRIAN FERGUSON
The motivational premisc can be cxpressed in one general proposi-
tion: \Vars occur when those \Vho makc the decision to fight estmate tha!
il is in their material interests lo do so. (This is a more precise ancl corred
formuJation Ihan statemcn1s made prcviously [Fcrguson 19843: 32] thal
\Vars are conAicts ayer scarcc resourccs. ) The nwterial interests of
dccision-makers can t;lke Ihe form of six strategic obicctives of \Var: (1) to
!lcrease access lo fixed resourccs; (2)10 capture movable valuables; (3) to
impose an exploitativc relationship on another ndependent group; (4)
to conquer and incorporatc another graup; (5) to USe external conAict as
a lTIcaos of enhancing the decision-makers' position wilhn their own
socicty; and (6) lo forestall attaeks by others. Objeetive (6) sllggests an
importanl clarifiealion. A "malerial interests" pcrspeetive does not
imply that war is always deliberatcly chosen and planned. It may be so,
or il may be an unplanned and unwanted last rcsort, the Olllcome of a
"prisoner's dilemma" brought about as the result of prcvious sclf
inlerested slrategic decisions. Even in sueh a situabon, ho\\'ever,
dccision makers will eonlinue lo ael in aeeord wilh thdr pcreeiveu
material inlcrcsts.
The Ihree complementary materialist premises form a base for a
strueturc of explanation extcnding through variOllS areas of social life.
The modcl can be summarizcd as follows.
Infraslruclural factors explain wh)' war oeeurs. In Ihe absenee of a
pressing searcil)' of somc essential material resouree(s), or when an
exisling seareity can be addressed by alternatives less eostly Ihan war, Ihe
model indicates a low likelihood of war. 'l'he infraslructure also
aeeounts for basie parameters of how warfare is actually practised, and
Ihat in lurn affects all othcr dimensions of war.
Wilhin these constraints, strudural faclors explain the social paltern
ing of war, even as Ihey Ihemse!vcs are responsive lo war and lo
requircments of production and reproduction. Kinship affects ho\\'
people are grouped to fight. Economics translates resource scarcity into
hostile rclations between groups. Polities is the means throllgh which
antagonistic inlcrests beeome purposeful, violent, group action. Struc
tural faetors can make Ihe differcllce bc"veen war and peacc in
situalions where searcities are gencrating tcnsions; and economie and
political organization have a limited (at Ihis evolulionary level ) ability lo
crea te significant additional incentives for \Var. But generalIy, structural
faeton do nol generate war in themsclves. They do largdy determine
such malters as why a particular war starts just where and when il does.
JO
Explaining war
Superstrudural palterns shape the way individuals perccivc and ad
011 conditions rclatcd to war. Calculation of material loss ami gain
neccssarily must consider relevant propertics of the existing social
universe, and that illcludcs the values and rules hy which individuals are
expected to live. Those which affeet war are strongly eonditioncd by
war, but they also respond to cverything e1se in the social system. War-
rclakd qllirks of the sllperstrueture, or even of ils manifeslation in one
individual, may tip the sea les in a situalion already at the edge of \Var.
Bu! independent of infrastrudural and strudural patterns conducivc to
\Var, sllperstrudural elemcllts Il<lve a very limitcd cffed. (That docs not
mean that we cannat use ideas to lessen the risk of war in the
conkmporary world. Changing ideas can ha\'e an important dfed over
the long run, if, and only if, the adual significance of ideas is
undcrstood [F ergllson 1988h; 1989a l. )
Thc following sedions descrihe posited rclationships within and
betwecn thcse arcas, \vhich are consistent with the initial premiscs, with
other relationships, and at least arguably, with known faets . But any
thorough eomparison against existing data would be an enormous
undertaking, and that is not the task here. Citations of relevan! cases are
more for iIIustration than evidence.
AII relationships posited here must he seen as probahilities. "Pro-
babilistic causality" has always been an explicit part of the cultural
matcrialist stratcgy (Harris 1971: 594- 596; 1985: 528-529), but thc idea
has bccn invoked rcgarding the study (and praeticc) of war by many
scholars (Andreski 1968: 5; Boulding 1963: 4; Von Clausewitz 1968:
10&-109).
Complicating the presentation ofthe model is the faet that all ofthese
arcas expericnce major changes as a result of general sociocultural
e"olution and of contad with Westerners. The initial discussion of the
ahove arcas \ViII factor-out those changcs, cOllccntrating on war in
rclativcly eg,llitari,m societics - bands alld tribcs - and Oll rclatiollships
not dcpendent on contaet. Following that, sep,nate discussions will
address the significance of general evolution and contad.
INFRASTRUCTURALFACTORS
A usable description of the infrastrudure is a popubtion with given
charaderistics, using a given technology, working to obtain necessities
via interadioll with its natural environmcnt. Fadors rclated to those
JI
have t)'picaUy betn impJk-.atcd ,n "'eeofogcalr" - (01: a
quarler eeawry fhe domi nalilttheoretica1 a:pproach to w,ar Bennelit Ross
1'971; Harris 1914: 61-80; H:icbf$on 1965; Nettiug
1967; Siskind 19'73; Suttl,es 1961 SweeI: 19'70;. Vayda 1969a; I 969]x,
EClOlqgilb I ... ,ve most oRen invobd infrllSlmclura] m(:ilOrs ro
\/lIriatiomin war - w'hy' society X. ha general
WlT patleEn that' it doc - ra,th,er ella:n part ieular vAr:iatiol1s in l'he pncf oc:s
of war wilibin one rociety (el. V;ayda 1979).
nlellsi,\I'e cbanges t!heory , .he klsic kI,ea, hiliS
femai,ned that warcalilliH! ar,eadiolil topopu:latiolil, te'$Olnces,
11 nd, tha:t it e.iI,n ,11 rcJaxatio:lli of thaC prcssurc. So, war can, be
'"adaptive." (Altlh.o gh Vayda [lQ:-7,6: 1-7) audi othl!fS mject population
'tlite cause o walr - ,..dopti1llg a bro d'er view of wa r a a
rneans of 'oopilng with alily 'Iype ,of kiliZlrd - popubtion
haza-.J i *liIi :rl.) Jt "'.
piess:ure . . . _ . pr 1;: . 1"" ___ 'u _e-. _roL _ !I;\! . lh_ .. WQ.. _
celtil iRI)' not i ncvitabl!e iMi human popolatioos expand tlinti1 thc _ .are
stopped by ;cilrc:ity of wme c.mill rcsollrc-e. WhcliI tI cydo not, ODe
majo cause aud is e!irminated,. B'Ilt population5
,oornmonly ,grow. l;Oiding lo aJld prompting som
Belion.
This adioo, noed not be: waT. A. cons'S'lent LI eme io ecolog:ical
.analy es wr be past decade has, 'beeo the possibiHty of fllncf onal.
altemativesto war (8al:ee J 985 "Saff.: Monen 1984: 169- 70: ,etting
] 914a; Pfice- W 9S+' 220-222; Vayda .'976\ +-:5;: Web ter 1977: 34>..348).
Inte<nsificaHon ofp oducf:on elforts i.s, onl!: possibility. if 'nrr.lstnJ.otural
,c,ondmons aUow it Tradc is another. 'bot co.sts of transport mi)'
'elimina:tc' kade as a sol:lltion to basicsubsistence 'p:roMcms. Movement
i,s. oftena feal ,altemativc, provided a IrOllp $o nol sll'ongb fi,x<:d in oue
- Iace (be' ow) ... -. ' . . , ...
p ... _. _ '. . _ . _pan ro .... 0 ... .1 es UhClrg. OUp C01l1 ..
befare they rcach th,e point of opeo, wamnc. Th'is mar be especial,ly tru'C
in siruatio1lS where viJl1a,gcs mmn. fissioo, due to increasing.scaTCit'es.
and that ,is ane reamn why an e:xp11afiaCiofi of,eonditiolil to lood
groop fissiclD ina: is usual ')' insuffic en. by ilsel f as an. ex:planaUon of W8,f
betwten m-si(lncd segrntnb, l'9Mb). 'When diese and
olber functional altematives are nol v.iable in (1
uoaca:ptliIble COSIs" 01' are rmde:ml iImpMSible bytbe of ,a
competitor rel)"ng 00 force 'MIl' may be ,tbe 0111)' option left.
Conftid bdwcen compmtors. fo:r scarce clIJ,V,iwnmen,tal roes lilas
ide.tifiedas die lmderJyi,og enC'J'3it:or of 'W3!r. V.ayd's
12
W969\3} easl)' 8Dd I study of o:pand'ng $,widden ,eultivalors
compclitiion OV'r desiro'bJe secondary gwwth l;lnd,
paftk palilts in tlle over \!i'af in H igbhmci ew
Guinea :lind _erine mazonia h \I\C . rgu;cd fOflaad and g me
shortages,. Iresproh.ely (see FergusoD W984a; %). ,3s.scrt
e,ompeflion ror p ime sub!lsl nce arcas, notab])' <.'StuaTies on I:hc
Nortlnvest Coast Fergu on l'984b). The lis1 of uch tudies. ' ca ib ..
exp:lluI:cd (,e.g. Ralee 1984; Boehm Graham 1974; Lar: on 197.2).
Also, ecofogical SC8rrcirtics bal'e beeniden.iified as i rnmed iate C3!Ll:Se
of confllict in an<1Jl}"e which tllitt thc ilre plfimalil}'
derermined b culrural: pal1ems (0'01 i 1'984; 1985 '. olo,gical
crises obviow]y. can inteIilSiif), conftidover resomoes,(BOIlJner ]C)8] ,
Haas"Ibis vol.umc;. - ctting 1974b: 1 '5 2 Torna 1979).
One poililt deri\,ed
l
from 11 C$C' is especialll re c\/ant for
di eusstons: to ('om .. gencr.Jted b en",ironfilumbll
resou ce arc:t}" . Ir)' :in lile -pecifieit}1 of lile opposit ' 01'151' e ' rreate.
Competilion malr' be gooeralized. So that somebudy has gol to go, Ibul
".f.o exacfly does nol mattcr, Orl mabe more conflicts, so
thal :J of OfIe type '\\IiU go - fla a group' of l)';K:.
The II<.'SS is dlc b ,ic . UIO'r' room there j,s, fuI
inRuence of trucwral faclors descJibed belbw .
. Ithough erolog.ical bas. bc-{!11 most tOnccrnC<!\\lith ow
mource $carcity ma)f generate waT infraS'lructu all Fa tors cd a
profolllnd inAucllce on \wr in mall}' otheif .... '3);5. Cene'!: I sub: i tenC'e
OtientatiolS w:illl harYe muliple r glroing tlle aJO atld
pfllcfce o W8Tfare. Fo most hunlers and ga,hcren, am:! for
cultmalisls whose numben arc Umilted b Iillle,,'cnly d,iSilribuled gol ne
ralher dtan b / Iud dd:fi5e orconquest o.fcrrilory expect-
al)l wi l' notbe a g Id ilnfighting ( on I-Iudsonand Smith 19'78-
FClguson ]989h;. Winterhalder and Smith W98l). Wh n trib I pcople
n:l)' on domcsticattd pigs fot nutdefl'ls. pigs can f,gmc' pmminentl}' in
war pattems: Illu:ft 'or -or ginden daMage cau sed by prgs. iS; a source of
I ooili,ty, pig aoquUtio8 is ,m incentive to ligrbt. pig herd ' ets
con Itain!! on thcJ.l<)S$' bmty (lC waging W2r, el . (Mcggitt 197 ; RaW
port
h5<1of;}li$1'$ mOl)' be pronc l'o waf for severa. reaSOM thc)' typically
, eedto ,obtain ome nooes.si'tc-s {mm agri:cultu.I3;lists theyare ,ofien
subject O -rvirolimental pertu ,bations wbich force them ro c-aplure
new '1 i eMoCk or' cxpand paiSturage. alld the;ir mob:il ity ov.erlargc a r,cas
I . BI U. :FEIt.CUSON
rnakes tradecxmkoUenor meJ'Qenaries (F\JIku' .and
Tudon 1 Col(fen 1'9.861. Peires 1981a)',
80th hunten and plhe;-en and pastofalisls have subtistcJlce tech-
nolog)" I'nd skiUs whtch can 'be ,eanied over ioto comba. (Cohen 1984:
319; Ehral ] 961; Tumey-H.,. t'971). The eechnolO,g)' of Wilr it.sc r is aDl
infrasbuctur,a1(;ctor witb direct bea,ring on milita,r)' planning and
action (Engo 18;:"192; Mason MeNen 1982: '9-20.;
1971 and 19(6)- a &ct wbich sllouldbc
obvious lo an wIiIo Ii e .in tille: nuclear .p.
Wlt.ttc:vef the mbsi<StcFlcc orientatio.D,. malilf factors aiect tlIte
a:bil'ity ro m. WlII r on tilrgds at yrying diMances. ,inclucling d,istJncc
between IOQ'II grOllp5, topography and pound CO\ller, the tccl!mo1ggy Qf
m:ovemcillt and ,eommunica on. du: OIistenoe oC UIilOCC-..P ed lemoory
atllowitnrree i'nd the feasib'l'ity or a l'ving off
tite 101m! (Fadiman 1982: 30-31. 36. Va)!. 1960: 12-13, 67-80.
Whitehead, thu volume), The s"zc of loa1 settl,ements aud tbeir
dem08Jl1phic profiles ob .iousl:y w.iU a'llect libe si<u aoo composilionaf
combat ,gJ<JUPS, alnd .hat wiU aJred lacties. (Many ofthe inadeqtlades ,ar
''p ,imitive
t
fighl:trs: identifi,ed by Tumey .. High can bea:ltributed to theiir
5mall sal'e of operati,oru,) The fixify of sefll'ements on the landscape.
the:ir cifC\lm$CriptiOD" m.y dete:rmine the cho . ce between fi8ht oc 11 i t
situations (Camei,fQ 1961: 61; 19'70; ChagJlolII 19'n: 136). 'The liixity o
brgd groups .afmcts the oosIs or aHacking Oli oonq;oering them (Gi:b.san
dl,s vol:ume. 'Goldberg:and Findlow 1984 . Covenely. hi&h 1,
gJOUpsofte h<lve the C<I)a.city te:, expatid by rOJee O\'Ci largeerriwties
(COhen 1984: 341; Kclly m98S; 1966: 27). The discussion
ro ' Jd bee:mnded. but the poiht should be dear that infraS'lructural
cond ' tiOIU are ,Iafgel)' mJ)(Ili\$i.ble for aspeols ,af tlh:echamooistic
pradioeofwar inany culhne.
What the- inf'rastruoturall COll5eQumces: af w:u? Ir, asargm:d
above, 'lo conA"d, ,does .Iit,e eonf,Bct .somehow d'iminisb thc
e:xperienced SlCaTci:ty? Heire" loo, long .. standing ccologica. assedWns
seem 'Uflshabn. Byforcing tc:focation$, war can result in
ment OffesGUJce temtolijes !o the size '(and so miJi:tary strengd.,)o
poupn and lo weaker groups: bejllg forroed lo Ileave <lin arca Mtirely
(Fergusofll 198<tb,. 19/1.91:.; Meggjtt 1'972;. 1977; Vayda t969a; and :S'CC
Robb.ins I 982.}. lIostUities ,can crea.te' buffer zanes 'wbcre natural
'. . ' .. . ' be ' 1 ,' t. fi h lOan,' otaln (Bennelt
rcsoul'OCS may .. ce nu ..... \1.. ._. exp. _ .. _.0 ._ .. . ..
ftoss. 1984; 97-9q; HiC:kerson 1965. NeUing 191ib: ; ';.TIrilJli!r 1976:
34
lOl. Variousdbe t and ,ndir,ecl ,demographic oonsequences of
w.ali can ,s'low oleven fe:ve:l a population gO\lloth trellld (Coolc 1'9 ; ;
Djval!e: lind Harri,s 1976; Fe: gUIDO J989b;. Va)'dli 1968.: 470; Wc",er
198,J,). On lile other hand ",'ar capti\'ts be hIlen .0 replenisha
,dwindlng poptda:lion (Oba: 1971: 192; Triggeilf 19'76: 12), Or io
adkl to a ,geograph"call) 'expanCiUng ORe l'9,*O: 221;
Wagner 194()t H8),
Does dJ:at wa,r i$ Ada>m ion as a, ,oolWep1 as
problematic to employechtilica 11)/ iil ' $ ind" pensable ror general
usase (see Fergu50nlc;l89b). 1t might lile beHe:r reshidcd lo gau;ral'
Jd'eJring- wUh de:liberote impreci$jon - to the a:bility ofan' individllal ,
Ilocal gtoup, m clIlt\u(! Co suwi\'' ,and ptosptr withilll it natural
'enviironment. In '11);tgeneral sensc 'warma,y be "",apti,ve. I,tcanlead to
reduooon of theprressute ,of plpulatiolJl on fesoUII"Ces which Icd tolhe
figll:ling. In do "ng so. WIIl' m ":ght, pro1ccUIu: . nttBJ'ity oHhc mcnt
by pxventing OVCil'-!i.l5e ,and !ong-tmn degradlltio ofthe Ei alue base.
But. tt.,is ohllapti\l'e value neelb major qualiofication. WaT
I,Isl1alily entails majal' oosts in resol1rces. efforl, and H\I'es. fOl botih
WiUn(l'S,3m loser , 31l1d i1' is not self.evident dlilllt thesc a r,e outwcighed by
oObsef'olcdof bencfits o warr, Morco . r. bw use i . a
brnd ptooim. triggeted by l'OC<)lilzoo, ca.:cities.. .t wiU expectaMy keep
populafons fal thali1. 'be maximum pm;s'ble. And loc-al
scarcities wilt oftm 'be aggrarvatcd 'b war. since efiiiden.t use of 3\1 ilable
resoUJCe$ ,oommonly is hamp:mJ b fo:rccd rOl'
defensi\'e pUiIpOSCS (see , thi . volumc). So ti elC sho Id be n
""ar somehow creates op1
i
mum balance of people toO
n:s,muQCS foa region.
Another quaJill1catio:ll, islhat war ma be cauS!ed by fadon o,ber lhan
eavilonment,d resOl1K:eS. In these ,sifua'toRS, the demogmpJt,ic
CQIi5eqU. rices of waf described aboYe ma ' slnl f e:sU lt. oftmin intciO i-
:liied fOJlll . Tha,:may ]ead lo a MU'Clion inpopu'lation numliH:n. ,coren 'lo
dIe point of focal exrndi.oru. Such w.u oould only be des ribed as

STRUCTURALFACTORS
'Fo:r oonveflienc.e. be dooussc:dl undel the ofkinsh.p,
econQmi,cs.. 8.001 DiisolJiSSion of cadl' follow ,a sim.lar
patl:cm: bcginn' "1 with 'commcnu QP ib gCI1C'!'aJl JCl'ga,rding

gr. then describiRg linb or waEare' vadables lo specific s:truc1uTal
aO'lngemcFlb" IInd foJlowed by discussi,olll oF patterning 01'
gwupaml beih\.'CeQ -grollp rclla,tiOflili.
Kimhi;
Rdatiom: oC dcseent, afli hit)' co-"C$idel1c>c: I'JOvide 'lile basic
principie: Qf daJil)' ill, $OC,' eties;
The i m'mediare :family and largcil' cin::Je of linare oontext nO'!' .ust fol'
fepliOO!lJctiofi, albo <Jle the maiQ, Fo;-
orpniZ!ing an,y OOQpenliw dfoft War are o:rganiudl ,a'CCOmill .
tu existing lit:'! " ructUIt$, RedprOC<!1ty., the demand' , nd: baz.mls of
""airEare affooll:imship paUem
A and weIDI-s\Jbsbntiated' !xxI:y of has de<mQ!1-
S'lnred correspoooemcc: OOtweenaspcds of kin Mp ystems. piuticu arly
nn.d-: .. ... 1 Il' --- id n - - aliid .. - -\il -- miS a- d Eilber "91l' ........ m .. n", _($ __ 1: oe _ _ _ _ pt _ , ____ __ JI _ _ _ _ _ I ,
Dia:le ]985; Di,v.de ct .. t 1976: Murph)' 195 Otk: bcim .'9-i ;
Thoden Vao, V"lzc; <lud Van WeterJin!l: 1960), P)\Ji!QCall fO;5t-m<3fital
rcsidenot sud 01 C1' amdated pal!!em produce "fr,lIil:ema] ntcTc:st
,gJnups" of a8Jll3tes.. Men in dle , g,.Ollps han: b i
nte,.....,b and are by conO idiQg .lo,ra1ties;,
Sucl gmups regulady [tso!1 to "jolcnct to protect lherur "ntcr,ests. an,d are
sbvngly wi h locafzed w.nfafe. post-mariCal
rcsidenoe \\oulens ,ar dim'natcs fratemall inrerest poup!,and 'C[, I:cs
CW.$$-Cutting tiC$ between men n diffeil'ent laGll groUp$.. ThiSl;h(;otU-
aJC'S the pCaoeful ,ar con8 iet Imolllg neighbor Ir aud is
ootlm!ollly 3SSQC.iatcd wi,h pace, 'fllc lies uf
matrilocaUey. bowever" :Facil'tatc mor,e ,exlciDshrc' coopcration a iIlOn
men which it pm
J
iib1e lo, mobmze l'aTiCJ rnil rlal)' fof.QfJ\S. Thal
makcs afliCll' dlistlnce W\1mr:e mOfe' feasible" lIod m;atliloc-al ity
fIcq,lKntb js l"ked lo, "eJd-m wanare '. \Yi1 i e it lw, beenilOOJc:d .hal
fraternali 'nteJest groups by themselves cause 'W<lr 'dlc:se correJatiolu an
be i,ntC'1'pff,ted as, considCfit wi'lbl [he Rlalerialisl pCl:fspecti,\IC' PKS(!'R1'ed
II1 -febecauS (1) rhe M'II; r- :/1- ..... , over --- - I r .m a- _loO,y a.lllrge
_e __ __________ ...... o OOrl __ .. ___ R5iOlLrc __ __ ,_
:role in shaping res'd:cnce patterm: (Ember and Ember :t971). andl (Z),
both co.nfllict and residente paHemsatt' ,eoooitionedby baste
- I'od .... --, a- - 111 - - -, -fi ... ,(p: ---- ,-
p ___ ,"",_OH _ml ._gemILw _ erguw,n 'i1C, _
Otila maior featum ,display $milarl 1ihe
mmt , - --;- - - - ,... - - i1' - '1 ,d -- 0- nt . -- .' -) -l_ J l . ,. ' oyd; liOD
_______ w UliL nea _e5()e__ grou,ps JS re iiltcY tO OOID..-.. !J! __ _
36
1i,xplaning war
over scarce critical resources (Ember, I':mhcr and Pasternak 1974;
Harner 1970). Their presence can add dcfiTlition to groups involved in
war (SeU 1935: 253- 259; Berndt 1962: 165-266); and olle varidy, the
segmentary lineage, has been idcntified as "an organization of predatory
expansion" faeilitating militar}' eooperation of local agnatic groups
(Sahlins 1967; and see Brown 1964; Kelly 1985; cf. Peters 1967). But
very intense and d ~ l d l y warfare can wark against unilineal deseent as an
exclusive basis of group membership, as high battle losses can make
Aexible recruitment a lleeessity (Langness 1964: 174; Lepervanebe
1968). Other structures wbieh ,lffcct the organizatian of military forees
include men's houses (Maybury-Lewis 1974: 306), lllalc age grades
(Fadiman 1982; Fukui and Turton 1979), and non-kin sodalites (Lqwie
1963, 105).
The nature of interpersonal relations within a group also affeets the
practiee of \Var. In some sitllalions, domestic antharity patterns are
carried over to military action (Kiefer 1968: 226) . In some, the structure
of male-fcmalc rclatiolls can foster tite transformation of resource
scarcity into violent eonAict bctween rnen over women (Fergllson
198%; Siskind 1973). Choosing sides in a conAict, individual deeisions
on who is "lIS" and who is "them" (when that is necessary) is illAuclleed
by strength ofkin ties (Berndt 1962: 234; Chagnon 1979a; Mair 1977:
34-35). And when eonAiet does develop among related people, kinship
provides an idiolll for eonceptualizing and acting on diverse ,1l1d
sOlllctimes ineoTllmel1Surable issues (Netling 1974b: 157-161).
Bctweell groups, mi litary relations are partally dcterm i ned by kin ties
rclatcd to marr<lge (Berndt 1962: Ch. 12; BlITeh and Correll 1971; R.
Rosaldo 1980: 65). Close kin ties are no guar<llltce of peaecful Telations,
however (Gregor, this volurne; Hayar'lO 1974; Kang 1979). ComTllonly,
people both marry and make war on their closc neighbors (Bcll 1935:
255-256; Peters 1967). Yet the basic link between inlermarriage and
peace may still hold true even in those eirclIlllstanees, as individuals try
to maintain peaceful relations with their own affines alllong the enerny
(Brown 1964: 335-336; Robbins 1982: 245). Other structnral pattcrns
lllay furthcr eomplieate these bctween-group rdations (Fadiman 1976:
12, Petm 1967, 272- 277).
Tilat related groups are capable of slallghtering each other does lIOt
invalidate Ihe idea that kinship generally foslers eooperation. Close kin
are usually bound by generalized reciproeity (Sahlins 1972), a sharing of
materia! resourees as part of the obligations of kinship. Inereasing
37
R. BRIAN FERGUSON
scarcity willlcad to progressive strain in fulfilling these obligalions, and
eventual failurc to do so, heginning wilh more dislan! kin. These
failures conslitute violatioTls of the norms of proper kin behavior, al a
time when thcir fulfilment m::ly he mmt nt't'de.d ( ;JS;J snnrr"(, nf m::ltf'ri::ll
assistanee). The hostilily created by Ibese breakdowns may be in direct
rclation lo Ihe previous closeness of Ihe ties (Malinowski 1964: 251 ).
Thc situabon can !end lowards polarization of factions (Coser 1956), lo
threals and accusations of witebcraft (Marwick 1970), and ultimalcly lo
division and \Var.
Economics
The preceding paragraph c,dls atienlion lo Ihe overlap of kinship and
ecollomics near Ihe egalilarian end of the evolutionary spectrum. They
cannol be llnders!ood apart. lf kinship provides Ihe slructure of social
relalions, cconomics provides much oflhe suhslance. The organization
of work, properly rela!iolls, expectation of righls and duties in produc-
lion, distributioll, and eonsumption - al! are expressed through kinship
(Leacock 1982; Lee 1982; Siskind 1978). But as is directly
inAuenced by Ihe nccessilies ofbiologieal and social reproduction, the
eCOllomy is shaped by Ihe exigencies of material produclion. And as
with kinship, the distinctive slructures of Ihe eeoRorny inAuenee the
practiee of wal. Tha! inAuence becomes more prominent wilh inereas-
ing of the economy, i.e. with evolulion, but eeonomie
patterns are importan! variables even in relatively simple societies.
'nle possibilily of intcnsifieation of prodllction, as noled aboye, may
offer an alternativc lo war. This possibility is strongly conditioned by
infrastruduml faetors, bul eeonomics opcrating within infrastrudural
comtraints can take on their own dyn<lmics, whieh ean inAlIcnce Ihe
pmcticality and consequences of inere<lsed prodlldion (Price 1984).
Sorne cconomies are limited by labor, inslead of or in addition lo land
(Lepervanehc 1968: 176; Price 1984; Reay 1973). Such economies may
generate a demand fOf caplive labor, or slaves. Slave-taking is oflen a
major goal of raiding and of full-scalc war (below), although ,it USU3lJy
requires at least mid-level ranking as a poltical pre-rcquisite. Even
alllong rclativcly egalitarian societies, however, raiding may be pro-
moled by a strueturally generated de1l1and for caplured domestic
animals (Fadiman 1982: 42- 47; Kelly 1985). Another slrudurally
determined faelor is the dcgrcc lo whieh ,lO individual can enhance his
38
'position w.itl:l'in eoonomic re1ationsthlou.gh S'II:OCeSS ln walf .
That can occur directly. when booty 01' new teuitoJ}' is by a
VI'ilrrio:r. 01 lillldirect y. ,""he, the ma diToecl benefi,t 1.5prc-$lp hut
one's material welM>Ciing (bc:low). Howe 'er oontinuous
development of economic inequaJity wiU lcad to other andrncm:
fUndamental changes in war . Thes:e, aud t),e re:su lts of daooJation or
eoonomic slruclures andprocesses. will be colllsidcrtd in tbe secli.on 00
c\lolution "
11.e le betwcc:n kinsbi'p and ecomomics comes lo the' far,e 3gain
Vloh.enone oonsiders the definmon of 3 group all(J che structum of
intergroup refations. As a]ready n<>ted
i
, "us," bound by dense Un is
abo a commuuil}r of 'nterests linked b)1 eoonomic oooperatiofil andlor
common propert)'. 'l\e bn ties th.a:l . :nd dHfercnl oommuni1j'cs aT,e
muaJl)' conduits rol exchange. Thelatter meil'it >articulaT attention.
(1944) obstJVeS;that mr arnd exchangecan be ullder-
slood ,asopposites two 5ide$ uf one l'cl .. tion. lt may nol be wise lo gu thal
rar, hul war aud n]y are lI"elaed illl Many contex:!s
,(C:bson. this thi$ .. olume; Ma,uss 196 . Sahli11l,s. ]965).
RedisbibutiQn, at multiple leve. s, can, he a mean s, o buil'd ililg alliaoces
beyond ti! limits of ,daily Ie(:i,proca] sharing (Fc;:rgusQn Cregor.,
th's voJume; Robb':ns 198,. 2: et.,. 7),. Sim, e bafltcs'ma)' compensare f<liT
local ecological imoo:lances and $O remove a of w.u. but suc:h trnl!e
mOl run up a,gatnst pracfcal' {Balee 1984: 2,8; Pricc 1984: 220;
l'976: ,62-63}. 3nd n is quik'common, ror a munal 'ntcfllSl in
trade ro lcad a special rela" omhi p of peace: betweenindh' . d al tra e
partnCiT-s: wUh'nan en\lironment of war (Hamcr 19'71: lZ5-B2;
Numel'in 1963: 102; OU 'cr ]96,7: .29'5-296),
As exchalrlge aJfecls war, so W3r Silipe5 cxchange. Demonstrated
m ' ritary :superiorily" cspccjamJy i rooupl'ed willi othclI" .ad\f8 ntages in
trnding pt}$itioD.. can read to unbal'anced exehange ,(FclglISOlII 19Mb:
286-2.88). Ta"bm al mp, rudher. unfavornblc lrade vc:rg.es into ,opcn
tribute. wh'ch i$ a more oom,mon concept in 3nlhropolqgy (:Kradclf
1%8: 8i-85. Petsbits 1979; Ros:mreld ]965: 8;. Sab!:off and
1'975). In wilhextensive i hade.
military foJee is often a:n llI1$pa Jable .o.f C'Onho1 of trade
,(Colden 1986; Peircs 198] a; Roscnfeld 1:965;. and bctow).
J9
PoI.ilia
At th!;' mOR (if poltitical orgalllization, poti'!' es is firmly
cmbc:dtlcd in the rondition .:al rc:ady discusscd, IfkilUihip is dIe struc:turt!
uf me, md economics a Jatge :pad 01 the content . politics, allll
expression of lhe nter,cm thCl" gcnerate. Through '.liJe mcd:ium ,o(
patities. conO,' inteml!s bccolifut 'W;1 r. arnd I nb klw'een warrfafe
md po ifes .are exten,fW!.
f':)litica1I1'ou-ps and aUgnments n!lilect !he WlrtOIiS di .. ,j,s]Oh$ of ocial
structme .and thc illltere:sts oftheir Wihat nc lhe signi'licant
IUnds of pcdilcal diisions? One pcmwle d \'iiSlon :is betwccn portital.
aod followtrs. But in e8aritarian socwCSc, leaders lind
rouowcn may be ha'rdl), dis'illguishabte. Political Jeadcn.arcl'cprcsenhl,
U\!C5 ptimaril)' of kinsmen ,:my ,olher folll(iwers Ihe)' c)1l atlract),
Thc:y ,am ,dosely scrutiniii'Joo
'
, and g;l\l n tak ofiOiutharit)' a Icader's
actiolitS are, lo \'8.tying degr - . ci r,eumscribcxl: by th wi hfl'S of his
suppofters rLepervanche 1%8: n6-m78; Pr:iee 198U. mren Ibese
leaders lIlre . n 3 somewhat dlistinctivc SDC.ial position and ha,!!
:wmelaftode lo "nftuenc"C group .lillctiOJili. Aliso 111:<:i'l' atus is sometima
depend _nt on t'heir mil ital')' acoompl:Jhmelflu (Bemdt and l.a.wrence
.973:. ChagJ1on,hisvoJunre). This crea tes Ihe that Ieaden
nla!)' malliP\Jllate ronAict sUuatiolils lo further theit oWn padicubn
irnt!:res:ts. B le time one caches lhe: leve1 o' MeI'anesiall big n en. su;ch
maQtpulati:on is al'readly a 've!)' sign.l1c;aid &eto; in I,e:adii fig lo
Wl1T 19i1, l...epnl'llR hl! i968: 111. Olh'CiI' J96 : i12AI8
SiUiLoc i97.g'and sec Chagnon, .his 'YO ume; Trigge 1.'976, 68). ,ore
willl besa'id aool.lt leaders :slllortly.
Kimhip arnd ecolllomic dislJinc1loos bascd 00 gen der., age allld
somelimes generatiol\i aTe accompanied by po]lical inequalities. While
miadful thal ,ltlisinequ:a1ity ma!)' be ve:ry in miI,"Y egIlHhn'ilrfl
soc:idics (LcacoeJ: 1978:; Leaoool: md 982 11 ' decis:ion$ tI> iO' to w,u
aire' typically ma<l by sen'or ma1cs, Womenand childrcll. I!ess ilr
an)' d irectS3)'. aud it ma)' be: that '!hei r i nten:sls jn cantllio'! S'tuatioruare
boIlh tilncti\lt and o misreprcsen 001 (lanp,e$$ ]968, Megg$tt
] 977:. 9'-'99). I ni mil 00 A' ch. relat:ed lo pndEr. a i! . and -nerati 1
may play I'ole n dcUberations ]cadioS 10 war (Fcrpwn
198k; Sjlind .'973), but thit pouibill ity h<1 10 11:11 e atk'ntioFl
tbat nOI -mear z:,allions are Jl!M:S
Othcr a nd more obvioLls1y 'pi ific;;lInt di:risicms aJe Ihe wriOIB
e eavages whi,ch 5Cparat,e' s'm.lar grouping,sor lin: dans,
Cactions, elle. AIII ean h \le th,:'ir ooUoctive irereslii ,and dlepoten'iallto
ad'on them. These units may be OOHlpJetd 'independe I t. OT " ifled in
some lartr ooalttion or structure. or merdy larrent divj ions will in a
single gJ'Q1!lp" Afting.erncnb are oRen CQmpruicated and Hu'd,
pll,itJcaJ re1ationsamong un 'ts at ame org nizaticnal I'evd aft'cclililg
rdar ons lix:tween I'evels, and _ ice' versa ' DeuneU Ross ] 984: W2-101.
&mdt t962: 253-2.54; langncu ]04-213" Ma, lbury-Lewi$ 1974:
194,
Suclh common ' :ituationsput in question theclaim thal makingw.uis
aH e:xpetlaibJe atttibule of sQwr'eignty (ChagJlon ]977; 16l;
.1968: 4), Notunt is chis assertiollJ tauioloticall (soveJcignly
b the ability lo wag , \A',n), but very concept of sovc'reignty seem
:inadequate to wieh the manifest complexity sIOd dcgJt'CS of'pollif cal
miJibl1'Y potiC}' (Bemdt 1,%2: 309-310; and see
,Beondt Ross: ]980; d , Carne"ro. ''',is \I'OJume; Chaglloo Ihis vo]ume;
Robbin$ t'98.2: 71-8;')<.
The of figih,tiog w.ilh.1l ,j group lhe of
J ulhority rcJations so chamcte istic of relali'\fCl , ega litarianocieti,ts,
Koch (l974a; l'97ib; 1979) gil s pilrrticu' r is to tlle slructural
inab.' rity to d .' .i ivd resoh,'C conOicts, aud da.ms (1974<1: ] >-114)
tih:a.tthiexplaills warfa,rc. Duuhis o;p loa ionis 'ju ta mooified ... rsion
of the sovereignty thcme - gmups .any overafching: a,uthurity
can resorf fu {orce fo Jeml:ve confllicts - and no more inslm:ctive,
\ eak aulhorilypaUemlj; rIIJean that \!I'3f, as an IJi oh/ing aH
entil1c ,grou,P. requill'e$ group con$ensu.s, Oul \\realt aulhority a:l$(I means
thalt ndi: idua lwarJioIS <::annot be pmhihited, fmm I'cading 5m:l11 . cal
raid$ (althollgh raidcn can often be resrtmined by informal pressufe
! Ek .. raI
I
I1964: I U3-l 1 24; Trigger 197& 68JI), This can produte a J>3Hem
with twQ ,distincl lC\o'cl,s of interg,nlt:lp cornbat, all-'o,gh ,each wi 1]. of
OOUfSe, other (Bio si H3; ](' -fer 1968: .241; ngncss
19'73: 306.; 19n: 74-76;and 500 Kdly 1985: 51).
However. the Ron-authonblnan pattem. of deci 'inos on wbc:lber o
enrer iolo .... 'ilr does mol necessaril cany o\'Cr .ntu ti. e actual1praclice oC
'warr. . ' undcrstanding un dl,is polnlis the bacsis of 1\ITPey-H'gh'$
(l 97t : 26; ]981: Ch. 2 unfortulilate dicsfl1ctio11l ,of "PliOliti.\re" and
"civmw:J" war (see Fergu.son i9&b: 26-27), sincc he c1aimsthat tlle
sophistica1ed tactiC$ d'agnm1ic of .he falilefare dependmt 00 8.othority
r:ebtions fouud onl in m,ore hicnuc,bica] soc"eties. There doesexi t a
R. IRU,N F'EiRGUSON
general corndation of poUtica] C:eiBrtI:al iuUan .and m.iUlary sophisticatiorl
(see below), hut the meaniqg ofthe ronel:ation isclouded by che
. f" bs - 1 ". '1.-1. . __ h
eJutemcosutanha vanabon oelWttn t -e two.
When war breab out and WiMval i:S: the ;ssue, the:JIC are often meajol"
changes in "ntcmal authority pa.ttems. Ir pea;ootime leadenremain iin
e:harge:, ifleir dccwion power u broadcned nd 5b'e"8lhcllcd lo relax
aga in wIIen peace N rcslored (Oha:gnon 1974: 16,2: COlHns 9 ,O). arten
authority j; handed over to men oi bown mi]itary skiU. wooare' MI
peace lead'et$, ,and who, ma)' be ' _ xcluded iom theactu1 dec'" sion
tolighHF'adimam 1982: 97; Hoo1x:l 1978.:43; alro' MeggiH 1977: 68-
69; Nume<]irn ] 963: 73-74; 'TriggcrI976: ;5-;6). Var:ious iypes, of S()(ial
plCSSUre are lo beaf ID ,S,el men lo fighl' and follow OroCirS
(below). The 'r,esuH is thateven where general decisiol:ls are. mOlde by
consensus, thert can be' a fOTI1il of cornmallld in war, ,and the use 0'1
vjEtu<allyevery tacticaWprincple 5'pec 'lied b igb (,Lew:is
83-1 S8, Meggitt ) 977: 67-68, Stewart 1947: 264-2-66}. Alld )Xfhaps
m.ore in rome' cases sopbisticat,ed. tacties ,are emp oyed 'ven
wjthout ficld command Ch. Robbins . 982:

Politial paltmls wi:d in a nr-makiing gT,aupaw onl o e l:d:e ofthe
ro n. Wat n, ,a re]ation betwee1il groups. It is strongly aEfccted by ,otller
hetwn-poap relaUo,n<s,. $Uc:ltl as tht . pecific:il)' 'Uf generaJily of oonAicts
ow:r mouces. existing linbges 'of Of vade, of ooursc,
prev.ious milibry The$C rdatiolils create ocia 1 fiel.
whicb can be complicatedl, u.nstabl:e,. aud obscur:t!.. Pol:ifcal leaders,.
c:ostnedby thc: requiJ.ement ,of tons-ensus am.an C".eir 0WiII1 support.
tm, must rteer a ,course IliIfoOU,ghtlitcse tr,eachemus seaiS. 11'15 is a lask
Jlequi:n"g ,intcJligcnoe and ",cat di:p]omatic skHls. Anthropolqgical
dlcory has .iHleto 53)' about lh' s typt 01 di p]omac)' (d . N umdin .9'50:
1963), FfOPIl war, hQwever. lhe
by issue is the negofationandutilliutiun uf politi.oo-miHta'Y .alltialilees.
(TIu: fOJlOlN:ing twoparayaphs are based ,on d.i5lC'wsioru in: Bemdt .962-
e .. Z. 300.-liO; 1977: 97-99; Fdiman 31- 39; Gla$$t'
votume. Hallpike .9'77: 210-.211; Hames 98l: 404.
Kiefet 1968; Langness 308 312 Lcpervanche m96&
178-18. Mqgt:l: 1977: Tqgget 1976.)
Possibil'ities o aUianee aTe CfUt:ed by di,e 'existing wdJ oC belwml;-
graup' rdatiollls bu:t:it' lis upto poHtlcal leaders 'lo hansform. possib 'tities
inlo adua1 amanees, .. ud arten they halolc substm.tial &ecdom in doiing
42
so.. Leaders lo sdect che most dcsir:able ames from tl e ct of
possib'l ities. takc' thestcps to inl about a gcneoT I amanee,. and
ncgo 'ate specific uRders.tlndings ro,. Ther ac:tio s
Cf)'Staimze polli't,' cal
l
alisornc'I1b. aud in ding SIO llave a ma or 'mpact on
.he P OCe$$ ofw<1t. But fi, wk 's anell'ldlCSiS one, aUianoeuna hold
togeliher rOl o'Oly (llIIe aclion. Thy. and the hom,egmup con ensus.
may ihn'c be reeslabl ished every step a conOiit.
"malle ' ' a,r crucial fOil" $uooe-5S in .... :ar. \lllie\S can prO'l.ide Ot;Imbal
3ssi:stanc:e.. in.OO:Uigenoe. mateil'ial support, places of ft'rug.e. aud secUre
ftanb .. In Il o ti"s campa'gnsa,ga'nst an cuern. no move ma ' be
contemplated 1,\,ithout esfnlati"8: it 'mp el on ci!slIDng llianees.
AIUances lIso aKect the bala ncc of power bdY.'ccn opposed -
'l$elJ .3 rnctof or great impofhmooin shap' ng mil'it.uy actions {Bcmdl
1962: 266-2h7 Boohm 1984: l66-170; Chagnoli'l, this ' oh.m.e; UC'ider
1970: 126; Larnpl,CS$ 1
1
'973: The sim lure of a manee nol o,n,l)'
afF:ts wIIl.o wiln, but abo th nitiaf on. spread, and C'C!$SiItiOil uf
hQ tiEities.
[nsmll,lity ofamanoes seems!h rule a* relathly eplila ian Icvels.
thcJ<! are C'KC<!ptiolils (DeU 193); Heider 1'970; 99;.
Kaber.r}1 W973: 6:3-65; Laflgtil _ ]973: 304-305). e"olutiofi<3lf}'
developmentsabol'C tila base Une, :inl:o ranking are tllemsel ' es fonu,s.
of ,ela'liel . !able aUianees Hnhd to war, One is trille fonnatio "
discusscd e temi i'Cli by Haas (this and see bdow; d . sicd
197'5). 'le otlt,er i . the: dcve:lopmcnl of cofcderacies, whic:h a'one
time 'W1l . secn .as ' di tind level of e\'olution (Jac:k.
Bcmharol, perso all oommunica1'on' and see 80ehm 1984: ] 84-185;
Drue 19S1: 5; Fergu O'n 19840: 280; 'riaer 19"7,6),
ReeognUion that aU' o nc are significant ilckm . n '\1;'.11:. ilnlW Ihe)'
are . :i,gnificallltly . ffected by acnons of ,ndivid al e.ad. r-diploma $,
o d'ds an demcnt o indi", 'dual: varia.iion lo lhe sbuctuie or explanatlon
beJng offe11!d herc. The personalifes sud kiUs ofleadcfS do makc .11
dil'erence, 'Which bJiQgs w lo the ncxt tOl'I c:lhe g.enCTal siglilil1c3nct' oC
attitudestoward wa r.
SUP RSTRUCTURALFACTORS
Probably lile most :Ilequel'l. type of expbnati,Qft of w.lr especially in
, basbcen to felate :1 war pa.flem rO' $ODIe .aspectof
cuUura11y paHem,ed bel'icls and altitudes. Thex efforts take 'W[' OIlS
le BRIAl'.' FERCUSON
forms. Bencdiet's ( 1974) approach is to cxplain war as an cxprcssion of a
general eogniti\"c pattcrn. The anal)'tical dra\\backs ofher approach arc
well kno\\'ll (see llarris 1968). Unfortunately, similar problcms remain
in JIlore recent dfurts (Bureh 1974; Ilallpike 1977), rendering thc
eonstructcd patterns questiollClble in Ihemselves and uscless as exploma-
tiom of war. More subslancc is found in several o\'crlapping
approachcs, which look al war in terms of rno,bl personalil)' I)'pes,
parlicular values, and cultural norms of warfare.
Peoplc who make war oflen have belligerent pcrsonalitics (Berndt
1962; Clwgnon 1977; Koch 1974a). But the relationship behvccll
aggressive pcrsonalities and WlT is hardl y a necessary one. PcopJc with
normall )' pacific personalilies can be quite brutal in war 1951;
"eider 1970: 127; J\furph y 1957; Robarehek, thi s volume; V./allace
1972: 39-48). As the diseussion of leauership indiealcd, oftentimes
aggressive fighlers are kcpt out of or are secondar}' in rnaking a decision
lo fighl. (The "hotheaus" IIlay bc young men, bachelors, who I;vc lcss
lo losc and more lo gain fmm combat Ihan older family mCIl lBaxtcr
1979: 83-84J.) Even very aggress\'c pcrsons can find oullet for their
feelings in non-violen! adions (Co<..1erc 1950). Then !here is the
question uf whcre Ihese altitudes come from. Scvcral s!udies in this
volume (Chagnon, Gibson, Gregor, Robarchek, Whitchcad) discuss
oricnta!ions lo "iolence. 111my rcading, all are consistent with Ihe view
111<11 l ttiludes are prouucts of (cliffercnt ) social eireumstanecs. Cenerally,
individual bellicosity woul<..1 to be of secondary and dcrivcd
significan ce. llowever, in specifie cases of high politico-military ten-
sions, unusually aggressive individuals, espceially leaders, can take
actions which prccipita!c new hoslilities (Bioeea J 971: 2 J 7-238; Li
Puma 1985: 64; 'friggcr 1976: 69).
"Marti al values" indudc il variety of culturall}' p:lttcrncd goals. Three
are regularl)' invokeu by m!hropologists. One is an cmphasis on
individual bravery. exemplificd by !he Crea! Plains coup-countcrs
(Lowic 1963: 11 7-122; ?\.Iishkin 1940: 38--40), hui also found in othcr
parts of thc \\'orld (i\leggitt 1977: 68; and see Kiefcr 1970: 590). (This
conlrasls with the far more typiC:II pattcTIl where warriors attack only
when victory seellls eertain, and with<..1raw when resislanee is met. ) An
cmphasis on doing bravc deeds eertainly can stimulatc raiding. Bulon
the Plains, Ihis emphasis sccmsdcrivalivc ofthe demands ofthc regional
patlcrn of violenee (see Biol si 1984).
Another goal IS lo actluire spccific war trophies: sealps,
+1
Explaining war
saerifieial eaptives, etc. Ofien these trophies have direct material valuc,
as when Jivaro cOllld trade a shrunkcn hcad to Westerners for a rifle
(Karsten referenced in Bennett Ross 1984: 90). Trophics whieh aTC
taken and kept may serve as tangible proof of military aecomplishment,
which in turn has material rewards (Baxter 1979: 82-83; Zegwaard
1959: 1040). Or they may be llsed to signal a grollP'S ferocity to potential
enemies, as when Northwest Coast peoples staked heads on poles in
front of their settlcments (Fcrguson J984b: 308--309; and sec Trigger
1976, 70).
A final value, and probabiy the most wide!y eited of aH, is a desire to
avenge past offenses. Again, this truly is an important motive in sorne
conflicts, espeeially those with small and dosel)' related decision grOl.lps
(Bennett Ross 1984; Langness J 973: 308). Tt docs 110t stand UD as a llseful
explanation of war, ho\Vcver, first bccause the existcnee of trCTllCndOllS
variatian in the situations ealling for revengc itsdf rcqllircs explanation,
second becallse revenge-seeking often cannot possibly operate in the
alltomatic form suggested by ethnographers or every member of the
society would be killed (see Peters 1967), and third beeause revenge
requirements are freqllently and obviously maniplllated by deeision-
makers, with offenses "forgotten" or "rcTllembcrcd" at convenicnce
(Bcrndt 1962, Ch. 12; Yayda 1960,45; and see Balee 198+ 246-247,
Ferguson 1 984a: 39- 40). AI1<llysi s of revenge are on firmer ground
when the goal is examined not as an autonomOllS cultural value, but as
an e!ement in bctics calclllated to ward-off future attacks and serve
other interests (Mair 1977: 37-42;Yayda 1960: 118).
War, like any human activity, follows established convcntions or
rules: on proper behavior towards diffcrent types of people, haw to start
and end a conAict, when and how to !llove from one leve! ofhostilitics to
another , etc. Rules of war pose interesting questions, and must he
investlgated. It Tllay eVCIl be that these rules have an inherent tendeney
toward elaboration into ritual (Kennedy 1971; d. Kiefer 1970: 591). But
ruTes and normati"c standards should not be mistaken for practice, as
was common in earlier studies of war (l'athauer 1954; Smith 1951; and
see Yayda 1960: 3). An importan! point is made by Zcgwaard (1 959:
1037) regarding the tangle of rules surrounding Asrn<lt headhunting.
Despite the surface appearance of strict and unchanging ellstorn, his
fine-grained rcscareh rcvealed that individual decisions were producing
changes in practices "all thc time".
The suggestioll that rules of war have a tendeney to be eJaboratcd into
45
brings up the next tapie: war and magco.-
rdigiOl"l$ and practiQe$. Souree ,citt :'OIU 'on this tapie are
wperlIUOUiS!. s:ince' it is hard to filnd whuethe ,oollneQ!io , nol:
evident(bu.'lora'compilation, sa:Tume)'-Hig'h 1'971: 213-22.0). Ritual
comInOAI:)" prctedes., accompanie!,. lnd followsall1clilgageme:nt. Milli..
tary and $are r.etum ,are dviMelI. 11Ie memy is atlaclcd and
OOB.fUmI by rupe.mahlral: .means. Oadu :!Ind curscsmainblin
in combato rewards are added ro olher po1:cm,:id pim fef
WlIinion.
the abundance of data oOn th is oonndon. [ ,(OU d fifl.d no
gcm:ral lliJcordical Silud)" devotcd 'lo il. Perhaps that lII,eglect mms from a
pejooicethat wal and reUgion do, not "lOng .ther - a, bias fe\'ealed.
for when the mli n:ists da,im dtat "god is O'n 01,11 ;$
viewed] as ,wnie. But 'tbelinbge ,of war wjth reUgion and mqic oS: quHe
cxpectab e. War ililvotves. i i1 aD ,extreme' form. wilhla11y alll uf III,e
circumsbnces wbicih have beenl :involed tn ain the gmesis: ,o
Ilnd magic. lt 'sa 00] cctiveacti ity,. ,clase'l)' Ilinked, Ro group
sol 'darity and suMval. lt forees indi\liduls to con&ont a haZllirdous
unbIOWTl.. be)'ond theiJ oonlJol H places a
prcmium. OH the efiicac-y of $OC' al control. It poses '1he q,uesfon uf
meanina:" repcatedJy. as ]t, Jeads: 'lo tr .. gedy. injustWe. ,and irnmorality.
FOf aill these reasons. war b:a viltJual ma,siC0-reJigiolils magmet.
An thcse: factors afFed h,ow WlIr' is practica) and 'lhrcsholds uf
'/o]cncc, but generall:,.. thcy alone do nal cause 'War (Kocih 1919: 2l').
What they da b reinforee die 'resolve of warr" on (Whitehead.thb
,,"olume). The deci,S'onlo, might Ibe 'made according lo material
intefC$t,. bu. u1tirmate benefits may seem to' pale as men maTCh
towaro pmib e death. 'Th.e rules,. va]ues . and attitoRs described .aoove
pve an add1cd and more immcd' ate IlIIccnlh't'. They an: hammeredinto
boys :oom :IIn ea .. ]y age, sometim,e,s accompanim punishment
for &iluife 'Q Ind ividUa. miJibny may bea
prerequisite ror ae:hiev,illg ,adul:ibood;, and reinfo.roed fOI adull1 by
:$hame rOl' CQWilrdS, aud prcJtige lor ac..omp1idJed warrion (Fadi:man
1982: Oh. 3. 4; 1970: 129:, Vogd 1964)\ Shame and pl ,'ge do,
- -t .... _.JI. - Il-
n
h -\lo' -. - ,- llic
en
have ve-tan-'b)e corre in
no S!iI!lN iillo __ e, __ o :ever. _ --Cf 0.1" , __ . ___ . __ __ . g\ ___ . ___ . --- o
mafri.ages" in tesomoet. and in inftueoce (Ohagnon., vol,ume;.
Mcgitt 1971:PaltU;Zcgwa31'd 195:9: W-tO-
UMl). AJiII thcse:withilil.gro1lp wiU be backed up by the
th-,t, -. -f -' "1] " .... - 11M wl!.ichl ha-- n-
l
suflicien,tJy
__ ._ UN N _ WI_ OU., pou .... . JI _______ 7" __ '-" ___ . _ _ _ .
E
.J' "
x .... cJUI'In& war
moti
"wt-...1 th"il[ fi..J..1'"0, -- t'h -_- - -- .... - -f ' -' - '
_ _ _ _ ... _ _ S'! ... -- V\I ,, _ "_,,yon o iD ex m", .. " o relnJUKlng
lhe fC$Olve ,o WU1' _OI'$ should e1im nate any of war bci8
resu1t ofan :instilllct.")
''T1me layen of motiva:lion ksting orthe propo,{ tion that
MI' happms when it is in decbion-'makers' matetial: interm (soe
Ferpoon 1984a: 37-4,2)" Expectabty. indi, iduals .,dl ,express fe
culhn:al! va]ues astheir motives in war $O cmicaooounts will! 080111 be at
variancc from themateri:al gaio vie:w, Evaluation. of the material:
motivatio1il pmpos:ition is s'fll p1ssihle. b; in'-"'Cdipting
whetl!Jer it - in conkast toother motivationalprem' - can expla in
aerua. mili,tary beha,vior. wewedl on a Jegional (.FcTguson 19Mb);
O[ by eva:lw,ting whelher Ctl!l'Ient and prospective materiall am.dition
ind' iduaUyassased, carr)' tI e moo weigtlt in VQup dcJiberatiolils aooul
'Naif worlin, a:nd see Chapon. fhls vollume), This
et'Ids tbe su,rvey of factors i nvohlCd \Vith war in rcla.th'cl y
socictics. excluding lhe efrects, ofWESIIl!:m COnllact,. -
EVOLUTION AND WAR
soc'oc:ul:lural evo]ution has a long hislOly, alldl
abo Jonptall.d:ililg .assoc:iated conceptual; problem , (FriEd W967; . aas
1'98,2. liar:ris 1968: 6301-6S3. Mano 198& J971;
FolttJnale'ly. mos ,oHl ose can Ii>e aivoided beca.use ihc 00 cem here is
not ,\\ 'lb e\'Ollutio'n per seor wUh the f,ole of wamue io. promoling
evolution (S 'Oa.mc:iro, Haas. d:lis volumc), but wUh che changes ' n
wali wh'ch goarong w:ith evolution. ol this purpose . liIeooncept ,o(
evolutioncan be I'eft al central ization of political oontrol. greater
.,a.."-t -,1 :' , --, -l'ty- -ud - - - iet -n-- -- l:i -- In
ir" ue UIO! mequa _1 a mon: _ . e _se p:rwuc _ on ... _ eL _ g _
surplluses.
n has long heen !mOMl , probab.ly sirnce before theTe werc sta:tes, dilat
e'o\olution jS5$OCiatf!d wiih pea!Cf m'l itar}' sophi<rtica.tion in fonna.
liom,. tactics, 'Wealpolllr)'" ami defensive prepara.ions. al houghlJhere ts
.abo sulbstanlll variation intfte relation political and maitary
evels I Broch alnd Galtung: 1966: OHetbc' n 1985.; \Vright ]96). And
frequen.tily has bec1II sQggested dtal more' evolved polities ma:ke war mOfe
f'rcqucnd)l. more inle1l$i!t'ely. Oi mOle as policv. Suh
ehangeswefC a majar concem in an:llhropology at 8n earJiertime: (Fricd
196,1; d al. 1965 . Malino.ws:ki 1964; . ewoomb 1%0;
SumnCf .19. Wright 196,>: ud $C Gamei,ro. thils: volurn:e), AU tllese
R. IRJAN fERGUSON
changes 41rt mofl appaffllt when one artives al .he sblte l'eve1 of
oIgan' "tion, bul the)' .are changes o:f degm: andesn Ii.c
the evo)uf onar)' talll,e.
Generar dc\'elo,met:!b aSKK:ialed witt. evol'ution: ",.m .. ffcct tlle
:s"gnir6cance ofinframuctut.l!l50urcts ofoonAict. Thedited ro :slrainu
of coolggy ale Joosened as ,other cJcmenb o .be inft;astructufe dcvcl.op,
and Boml si rnple Ilidtie technology. I
sto:rqe C3,pability, andrclativeIDy <Jrl'ltonofOOUS hoos.ehoJd production.
EnCleas.ing Pr:OOuctivUy suppomand i.n mml depend$ upon; ;In !iIlCTeaS-
if!g]y daOOJate parltemof Cilfoubtionand oontrob miJny 'o! whjch Uf:
fa, removed: (mm aoy withan c. vironmeotaJchcck.
The genctail subsistencc KqUil,emell,ts or a popular on bccome 1.(!Ss
detenninati\llc or for remurces. They act on1) asa ftOOJ, and
e:vml tht call be d rCII if tlle oo5t$ o reprooucill8 work fOlce
can be pas.sed to, oul$ide ,.he \\lit". d'lve <below). 'I'he
fiunctio:nal necessilties of tibe economic syslcmandlbe struclurdy
detcrm ned uf 'oomumptioll detenuine adual demaJld for
resoUlCCS.
1e- infradructufe comt'n _ 'IJae of Che
economic 5}"Stem" andperturba.i.ons of f CIOfS wiJI 'cause
adjustments. in theeoonomy. samelime:s traumatJ' e Oltes. ,But dutilllg
flotiiJal times . tfUctut.1I patterns aud dyruHnicslit :moiesaJient and
ihey \11m h)\I\(: mjof im,pUcartions for mT. These implic-atiollS are
apparel1t in ,ofran,bd ocie1ieswhcTe produc-
fon is l"mited by rc$Ouroes or by abo scarcities. 'file collhast is
accompanicd by diffcr,ences ln descent mies . ,exc!tnivelilcss of property
c1airns, 'on Jed'istribution, and saon - a11 of which 41ffect
oriml'lltions in war ( e GibscU!l, cbis volume). (llUI.t discwsioli'l also
dew lops che rdllted plint that evol:ution oC pltit 'cal aud 'coonomic
bIoclures jncreasatl e abiWil)' aud iinceolive tu wage "''il of conques'!
,!sce Cameiro. fhis volumeJ.} One parfcularly imporbnt maniCeslation
oh demand for labor i<s the taking f Jalo'e$. AIChoUghpatterms. obn
.... - -d b . W - j - - - t.it - - , - -111h -f' ------ 'l
...... 1fI,pol ____ __ : _ c.Jtem COJ! __ e _ a '" ea J o Je<;CJI
indicates that sIave 'tarpture: j,s:a majO!' goal in ffian i,ndigeno'Us
'raiding aoo war patlems ofchie( onu: an.d stat.cs (F er,gu 00 19841>;
Cbson. ,his volume; Kopytof .982; Kopytof aud M'ers Lovcioy
1983. MeUlaMOux 1971; MUohell 1984; Wamef WatsQn 1980.
and see Engcls 1939: 199-202).
An cbborate division oC labor aUows for thc cJoeationof
'*8
mn'tary specialists. In s1at.es, .be on of J),Toouc-f cm arnd
caD be suffictelltto iUp.,orl: a speci:al i:z.ed arm . 11 e
ohny p;lrlicu13f militiu)' eJfod may be "educed" aud 50 'ts Hkclihood
incre-a-s.ed. ir :society is .allre-ady divertios: majol resourccs to l'outine
TlliliJl1rtenanee' of a mililary roJee. A"dTeS'1j (1968. nz) COlns tite' itrm
as Ilhe raro of energyde\loted lo warfare 'lo the: tola] cflergy
aiV3ilable to society. "Th,epriorily di,version of $Calce rerourcesis one of
,lhe major chanctciI"istics or oon,rempar.Hy societies
1967" Melma 1974; 1984), Uis imposs'ble to how _his cornp'ares
w.ith pol'emiCy jne rly sb'lll!Sorm:-",s1atc soc:icties.
has bccm: do e ,on ,jt {d. Rol>bins 1'982: 224-2H , 'fhe topicmer"1$
ini estigafoll especiaU iln rcgard lo thc point whete the milital}' lod
Ii1leiT associates .acquilrc:enougt struCilural di tincti 'C'IlCSS tod velopimto
3, powcdul ,group. Libanr int, rest poup. compete wil:h
othC'l' power groupings oveT the distribution of $OCie!: ,'s resOllrceS
(Claessen 1<>-79; Fortes ancffi Pr'tehard 1'910: 11-14), Si : e,
can haKl]y jiu rey mOJe &uppod 'f i . no dange;r ol "''aro tbey may
ha\l'e ninte-re:st in Ijloomotifil,g mill'ital)' cofl:frontatiofl . On .he: otlle;r
hand. SQrne slakUflllie.s must SlJpport llld peTmm
additional' \\'0 :k besides {Boom! ,- 193 : 179-183; lair 1.977: 129). A
mcent sem,inar 00 Zulu I listo:ry concluded tha't it was the d'm.elopm ni
Qf Ia,bo which fa ilita,tOO therise ofmi litarized states
198Wb:
1111: ,ehiefdomsand tates, one's m len I inrere l' dcpcnds more' o
positioJl witbill1theslfucture ofsociety than on tlle general relation
or poP'I.IIlaf.oo Co ftatulreSlO'I.IIrc:es. Ca t nd be elirts of \\ T . 'l'\C\\,isc
depcmd on structul posil' on. Poop[c or olgall izati,on al: dlii(crcll'l' levels
in a soc"ely mal' ha\ - eve<JloonhadicooJ}' nteresl in war:(Pe'res ]98]a;
W<tfIJen 1982; ]977: 363-36 . Gaios (or those wbo
mi]i:taf)' palie}' may be.aoC'omIJllJl1ried by Jossesfur lihose wh ro1Jow hej(
command$. FUl1h.er. ' struclum o inl!qualily .itwlf i the kc. to
proSJ'CfiC)' lo the elih:. di cy '11 be ... i tallly concemed with stR'llglhening
posifon within, that strudure,
Thc purposcfulexpansion of rerources da;med by the mili
l
13ryi$ one
examp fe Qf .s1ntggJ'e over conboll ' ng positious. diere aTe others.
JUll1liQf 1983;
.215; 1965; Ogol 19'72). tlle mil"ta.,.. m ,y .posc dlangcli af
oll;edtlmjng estahlished: rule ' Andreski 1968: ]04-107:
3 cCllltriwga] lend . ncies may wuken power tru,clures (Col en
49
19M: 34}>. Colden Kicfcr i09}, rivaltrong meo may
(if Ihe ,Qenh'a] admin id.'Jrtiof;l {Mair ] 977; 62. N umeJ" n
1961; 20; WoU:ilnd Hanson 1'91,2: OT may'
dUC:ilten {Ommmey ] 986; Ferpson 198fb:
290. Peojil'e'S 1'981(: Wolft97;). AU dangers lo!) <1J ruliflg elite
whichoftcnl can be ,. cutral"zec! by mobiEi'l.ing <i 'extern.d
enem)l. ln some C3$t!S, thl.'!' oonnedion is, more diTed andCoOnSlaflt. as
th COliltinued m,e of ,an I!'lite s dcpmdent upon lhe a:bm1y to wage
Ul.lXUSful wal morc-or.Jless continuo Iy'{alfll,ough h nOlil-elite
gmupsc:lC3rly do benel1it from the vjolcnce) (Beemer 1937: W76; Gofd'en
1986. Pl!ires 198b).
Manipnlation 01 externa,1 conlUct (ur thc bcllclit 01 a few sucsls
cootrol m,ilirlAny deei$ioo<s. Stalt,e 11>01 tica) ue
dUifiincti,W' las ,in thei r' abili,ly to m:ake ",'ar, thaDl ' iiD tlile con.lI'ol thr:y
cxereise W8nnaiking ,(Cohen 1'984;, OtIe oon 985). <me sidt: Oml is
COCJtIO] .is tN,t 5 bdiivisioo '; uf , state ,are prohibited (umrl resortino
forct to adv:JhQC thejf E\'C;D iJ FigjJ:k<l$ stiUl 3,1olllg lo
lind, tltey "",in do so OI't thecommand of.fu: cenfra] go!,',emment (Mai.
19n: 129-130), That tbilt iJuthorities
can demand and rompel' ,aooeptance oftilud rdeciioD Dn WIII' (rortc ,a ml
i
1'1;. Wobb ]97): 157-t62; Webster ]977: 364).
This is not 'libe case u dl'iefdoms (Spcllccr' a nd Jenlll ings W 96'5: 430-"0 1 ;
Vayda ]960: 15, 28: Wallace 1972:. l9-48:;c[ Camdro. thi . yo]umc).
and it' represents,one ofdt a$p(!Q1$ ifl,the long-notcd from k.n-
based t>cuUorial' ,organizati,olil, w11th sta te (Maine
I86U. ObYi.oudy. this represellts a major dimin.ution of ,libe mi]iliry
signi6cancc' of kjnship.
The gw,e.ss and ulmate roundatioR o thi$ control
l
in ' tates :is
(Andfe$ki, 1968. Gidd<l:n$ 198
1
; . Goody 19so. Boas 1982;
.Mann 1986). 1e 'critica] plint here that it o::isls. ll, e claim,
dial the slate adm inistration monopol izcs di,e use olforce
(Webcil' 1964: i ,and se.: Mair 19n: 31-32; Vans'na 197]: ] 3) :s
often 'collltTadlicted by file of dh'Cnc: 50m of partiall'y
independent .Iocide iteo(;:QD:lrol edI anned forces (Drago 1970;
Ihjs\llo]umc; WiUems Ch.. ;; Wolf and Hansan
1'912: Non-c He ma.y materiall,y bcnert fmm war in
Ju (iI$C$i - in h:Hil$ SCCUJity, new 'fe5<mfOes acqulrtd
akmal, tribute mitigating the efa of ntemal, .$Iu:lific:aUon. de. Bni
tMy do, 01:' not is ibelf $Ondary. The p incipal. quesfon l$,
>0
Explaillillg war
will those who decide milituy palie)' benefit? Subjcets can be eom-
pellcd to aeeept a paliey deeision, and eornpelled to fight. TIle old
maxim that a soldier must fcm his offieers more than the enemy \Vas
appreeiated by rulcrs of protostates in Afriea, as epi tomized by Shab of
the Zulu, \Vho heaped rewards on hrave warriors, but exccuted those
who hcld hack ('I'urney- H igh 1971: 83). That, along with changes in the
organiZ<ltion offorces, transformed the Zulu from nomadic \Varriars to a
diseiplined arrny of lIlfantrymen, capable of conqm:ring an elllplfe
(Gluckman 1940; Otterbei n 1980; Peires 1981a; Rtter 1957; and see
Beemer 1937: 67-74; Mair 1977: 129-130). With the ad\'ent of the
st:lte, compulsion replaces eonsensus as the ultimate basis of Illobiliza-
tion. No ehange eould be more fundamental.
Reliance on brute force alonc, howcvcr, is <111 expensive and incffi-
cien! form of control. Idealogieal manipulation is a cheapcr \Vay of
achicving complianec \Vith decrecd military poliey. The dcgrec to
which this is possible \ViII vary widel)', according to the circumstanecs of
a plTticular crisis and the o\'crall organization of control. As a gcncral
rule, it e.m be assumed that thosc who seek to enhanee their own
position via war \ViiI takc whatever measurcs are possihlc to make thc \Var
sccm for the gencral good.
Evolutiol1 Illodifies tbe significance of infrastruduT<I, structural, and
superstrudural f,lCtors in \Var. It is .m error to appl)' generalizations
hasca on war in relativcly cgalitarian societics to \Var in more evolvcd
socicties, without cOllsidering the implications of these ch'lIlges. The
errar is magnified whcn sllch generalizations are cardessly cxtrapolated
to current geopoltical crises.
IVESTERN CONTACT ANO WAR
A differcnt kind of distortion occurs when allalysls fail to consider Ihe
effccts of Westcrn contad 011 indigcnous war pattcrns. V\' estcrn contad
is only a typc of Ihe more ge ner.1 proccss of acculturation involving
societies of radical1y differcnt evolutionary levels (Gibson, Robarchek,
this volume). In an evell broaaer sense, it is only onc Iype of historieal
changc. But of both lllore general categories, il is the trpe most
immcdiately relcvant for an accuratc anthropologie,1 understanding of
war. The significance of contad for war has becn regularl), slightcd by
anthropologists, perhaps duc lo a professional hias toward the stud}' of
(supposedl y) "pristine" culture pattcrns (cf. Rodman and Coopcr 1983).
5\
R. BRIAN FI<:RCUSO:-O
Olle illustration of tha! bias is tha! study of the mos! dramalic military
CQllscqucncc of contad - W;lfS of resist:mcc to Vvcstcrn expansion - has
hccn largcl} consigned to Ihe dOlllaill of hislorians. Bu! cn:n if tha!
division of acadcmic labor is accepted, Weslern contacl mus! be
apprcciatcd fOT Ihe majr changes it produces in "nativc" warrare.
The three 'lspects of contad which are mas! relevaut here are lhe
introouction of ne'" epidcmic discases, dc\dopment uf new trade
pattcrns, and actual subjugation of lIathe x:oples and their incorpora-
lion into Wcstcrn statc control. The firsl t\Va can precede Ihe third, or
evclI any facc-Io-face contad, by great distances and long pcriods of
time (McDonald 1979; ' J'riggcr 1976). All hree affcct the
and ha\'c direct and pervasi"c implieations for \VaL
Discase and other conscqucnces of conlad rcgularly produce drastic
reductions in native popubtion nUHlbers that can prompt raiding for
captives lo makc up for losscs (Obcrg 1973: 191-192; Trigger 1976: 62).
Dcpopulatiofl can reduce pressure on and so conAict over scaree
subsistence rCSO\lTees (Ferguson 1984h). Ho",evcr, other changes !l1ay
counleract tba! effcct. COlltac! can touch off mass migralions away from
the \Vestern fronlicr. which in Imll crenle a chain reaclion of disloca
tions and migra!ions. Thesc intrusions can aggravatc presmre 011
resourccs, es;>eeial1y sincc hc establishcd residcnts and lleWCOlllCrs \Vdl
Iack <lny eslahlisbcd hasis of peaeeful coopcration m,llce 1988; Biolsi
198+ 154-155). Olher ehanges !llay aggravate conAic! over acccss lo
emironmental resourecs. Ceogmphic rangc for rcsource exploitalion
may be reslricted (Biolsi 198+ 147). Disruplion of ccological chains
m;lY result in unexpceted losscs ofbasic foOO resourccs (Ferguson 1984b:
296). COllul1odity proouction for trade to \VesteTllcrs can create Ile\\'
resourcc ocm;nns <lnd 5carcities (Biolsi 198+: 1 ;8-159; Bishop 1970;
Ferguson 1984b; Trigger 1976). In short, contad has diffcrcnt and
contradidory eonscquenccs regarding compctition o\"cr environmental
resources.
Trade with Westerncrs hrings changes in thc tcchnological hase of
socie!y. 1I is often the case that a ithie lechnology is supplan!cd by metal
tools, and in the proeess, a locally prOOuced tcchnology is rcplaeed by
une that musl be obtained from outsidcTS. A tcchnological transforma
tion \Vil! afTee! !he structur,J conditions discussed carlier, hut will also
ha\c direct ioplications fUT waL Peuplc may raid to plunder stccl lools
or other manufactures, or lo lakc items, incll lding sla\es. which can be
traded for manuf,lctures (Fcrguson 198-+h; work in progrcss; Goloh
52
Explaining war
1982; Trigger 1976: 626; Vayda 1960: 106; Whitehead, thlS volume).
The new teehnology may indude new and more deadly weapons (d.
Townsend 1983). Tha! can lead to major ehanges in taelies (Lewis 1970:
183-188; Trigger 1976: 41 7); and, sinee possession of these weapoTls
Olay be crucial for survival (see Naroll 1966: 20), il may trigger an arms
raee which itself generales more raiding for tradeable plunder and slaves
(Bennett Ross 1984: 9D-93; Chagnon 1983: 202- 203; this volume;
Fcrguson 1984b: 2l)l)-mO; Gamst 1986). On the other hand, skillful
distribution of manufactures by an outside agent e,m be uscd to foster
peaee among local indigenous groups (Cordon 1983: 206, 209).
Structural patterns related to war are restrudured by contad
(although such inleraction has received relalively li!tle study).
Kinship strudures often go Ihrough major changes due to depopulation,
changing work patterns, and dired inlervention by Westerncrs.
Residence patterns cae change complctcly. Normative cxpectations
among kin can bc undercut by inereased value of movable property and
general monehniz<ltion of social relalionshlpS. Marriage rules may be
changed by fi<lt of oc\\" ,mthorities, and by Ihe new local realities of
power which are considered when arranging marriages (Podolefsky
1984). More elaborate structures ofkinship may be eroded by a variety of
forces. To lhe degree Ihlt warfare is shaped by kin strudures, change in
those strudures \Vil! produce changes in warfarc (Ferguson 1988c;
Murphy 1956; 1960; Murphyand Murphy 1974).
A majar focus of economie inlcrcsl shifls lo relationships with
outsiders. rf commodity production cxpands, this wil! affed relations
wilh Ihe environment, work groups, etc. If this reaches Ihe extreme of
wage or forced labor, there may be a virtual collapse of native
cultural pattcrm. Long before that, howcver, war pattems can go
through sweeping reorientations related to ehangcs in tradc patterns.
The directly negative correlales of contad (epidcrnies, slave raiders,
etc. ) may initially rupture eshblishcd trade net\Vorks, whieh could
aggravate hostililies bctween neighboring groups (Golob 1982: 265-
266). A more eommon oceurrence is for natives to seek closer
lion jUlo \Vcstern traje networks beca use of lhe benefils associated with
Westcrn tcehnology. Intensive warfare may be generated by efforts lo
control llus trade, as one group secks lo impose itself as a monopolisl of
OTle form or another, and othcrs try lo break that control ,lIld aehieve
more dired aceess lo \Vesterners (Ferguson 1984b; work in progress;
Hunt 1940; J,blow 1950; Macdonald 1979; and see Ballard 1981; Webb
53
R. BRIAN F'ERGUSON
1975; Whitehead, this VOIUlllC.)
Poltical pattcrns also change in various dircctions. Group identitics
and boundarics alter in thc process of contact-induccd "tribalization"
(Frie<.! 1975: cf. lIaas, this volumc). The position of leadcrs ma}' be
strengthened al first due to their position in newly important trade
networks, and bccause of dircct military advantages gained in Iheir
rclationships with Westcrncrs (who may wan! "Iheir chicf" lo be
s!ronger than any rivals) (F'erguson I 984b: 288; Lewis 1970: 178;
Whitehead, Ihis volume). A more authoritativc lcacler may promote his
own intcrcsts via warfare, or bc may Jaunch attacks al the bidding of
Westcrners, to obtain slavcs, to pacify hostiJe natives or bccause
Wcstcrners want lo keep natives divicled and fighting (Forbes 1960: 121;
Murphy 1960: 30-38; Whitehead, Ihis volumc). Bul as acculturation
proceeds, the authority of Ifadilional leaders is Icssened or completely
destroycd. This may happen by stages, as when indigcnous statcs
impactcd by the Wcst break up into prcdatory warlordships (Lovejoy
1983: Ch. 4). Thc actual incorporatioll oflocal indigcnous populations
brings them within the scopc of the s!ate's claimcd monopoly on force,
and local military autonomy is eliminalcd. Missions and schools in this
contcxt illustratc rather c1carly Ihe use of ideology lo achicvc effectivc
control over formerly indcpcndent polities (Berndt 1962: 423; Rodman
and Cooper 1979).
An expanding Western fronlicr produces direcl and indired changes
in war as cxtensive as those associated with evolutioll. The initial net
resu!t oflhese changcs is to produce an increase in warfare, and this mal'
occur long before any Wcstern observers arrive on Ihe scene. A
conscquence of this, I belicvc, is a sys!ematic exaggcration of images of
warlike behavior in supposcdly "first contad" accounts. Recognition of
these exlensivc changes should nol, however, !cad lo a different error,
that of supposing that cndemic war patterns are totally transformcd or
replaecd (see Hunt 1940; Trigger 1976). Post-contaet warfare should be
invesligated for both persisting and new patterns (Bennett Ross 1984;
Fecguson 1984b; Gams! 1983; Yayda 1976, Ch. 4).
CONCLUDING REMARKS
The general theory developed hcre encompasses most anthropological
inlcrests in war. The "either-or" attitudc demonslratcd in some recen!
debates must be rcjected if cxplanation is ever to rcAect the complexity
Explaining war
of the topie. Rceognition ofthis faet opens the possibility that bolh sides
in an argument sometimes could grant the validity of the opponent's
view - ifhoth opponents take eare to precisely define the questions they
are addressing.
Obviously, there will be objeetions to the causal priorities suggested
here. Objeetions would be more produetive if they \Vere framed in terms
of alternative hypotheses, rather than being purely negative, and even
better if they were conneeted to other findings on war, in the manner
attempted here. The existenee of alternative general theories would
establish that there is much eommon ground between them, and allow
for true comparison of their merits where they do differ.
55
;u ~ f'k fr m lllt!.
!lI'I I rizO ,h'1IA by
ml\ill ;\- ]

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