Natural Conflict Resolution

By Filippo Aureli; Frans B. M. De Waal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
Conflict Management in
Cross-Cultural Perspective
Douglas P. Fry

Any other adult in camp is related to any would-be aggressor by dozens of overlapping ties of kinship and marriage. Once a person attacks his victim he is like a fly that attacks an insect already caught in a spider's web. Immediately both are caught. If the combatants forget the sticky web in the heat of their anger, the onlookers do not. Real anger frightens and sickens the! Kung, for it is so destructive of their web of relationships.

Draper 1978, pp. 43–44

In each society, a variety of culturally patterned choices exist regarding how to deal with conflict (e.g., Hickson 1986; Nader 1990). Among the !Kung of the African Kalahari, for instance, conflicts find expression and resolution through gossip, ridicule, shunning, public discussions, and occasionally violence (Draper 1978). Among the Dou Donggo of Indonesia, in addition to aggressive self-help, choices for dealing with conflict include requesting one or more elders to mediate a dispute, appealing to the village headman for a decision, or pursuing a grievance in court, an option rarely used (Just 1991). Even in cultures that lack a central authority, acephalous societies, norms are enforced and disputes resolved through a variety of informal processes (Turnbull 1961; Merry 1982; Thomas 1994).

Although considerable cross-cultural variation exists regarding how conflicts are dealt with, simultaneously it is possible to note recurring patterns. On the one hand, conflict management mechanisms can be viewed as highly specific to the particular cultural system within which they operate (Avruch 1991). On the other hand, crosscultural comparisons reveal general mechanisms of conflict management. For example, a comparative perspective shows that mediation (i.e., thirdparty assisted negotiation of a settlement) occurs in many cultures, whereas at a more specific level, the subtleties of mediation processes vary with the plethora of cultural values, beliefs, institutions, social roles, and so on found in different societies.

The central goal of this chapter is to illustrate the cultural variation in conflict management, while

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Natural Conflict Resolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Why Natural Conflict Resolution? 3
  • References *
  • Part I - History 11
  • Introduction 13
  • Chapter 2 - Foundations of Conflict Resolution Research in Animals 15
  • References *
  • Chapter 3 - Conflict Management in Children and Adolescents 34
  • References *
  • Chapter 4 - Searching for Natural Conflict Resolution in Homo Sapiens 54
  • References *
  • Part II - Controlling Aggression 71
  • Introduction 73
  • Chapter 5 - Conflict Management in Various Social Settings 77
  • References *
  • Chapter 6 - Covariation of Conflict Management Patterns Across Macaque Species 106
  • References *
  • Chapter 7 - Coping with Crowded Conditions 129
  • References *
  • Chapter 8 - The Peacefulness of Cooperatively Breeding Primates 155
  • References *
  • Part III - Repairing the Damage 171
  • Introduction 173
  • Chapter 9 - Reconciliation and Relationship Qualities 177
  • References 196
  • Chapter 10 - The Role of Emotion in Conflict and Conflict Resolution 199
  • References 219
  • Chapter 11 - Expanding the Reconciliation Horizon 225
  • References *
  • Chapter 12 - A Multicultural View of Peacemaking Among Young Children 243
  • References *
  • Part IV - Triadic Affairs 259
  • Introduction 261
  • Chapter 13 - Post-Conflict Affiliation of the Aggressor 263
  • References *
  • Chapter 14 - How Targets of Aggression Interact with Bystanders 281
  • References *
  • Part V - Ecological and Cultural Contexts 303
  • Introduction 305
  • Chapter 15 - The Natural History of Valuable Relationships in Primates 307
  • References 327
  • Chapter 16 - Conflict Management in Cross-Cultural Perspective 334
  • References *
  • Chapter 17 - The Evolution and Development of Morality 352
  • References *
  • Conclusion 373
  • Chapter 18 - Shared Principles and Unanswered Questions 375
  • Appendixes 381
  • Appendix A - The Occurrence of Reconciliation in Nonhuman Primates 383
  • References *
  • Appendix B - Key Terms Used in the Volume 387
  • References *
  • Contributors 389
  • Index 391
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