Sociobiology of lethal violence in small-scale societies

Authored by: Ryan M. Ellsworth , Robert S. Walker

The Routledge International Handbook of Biosocial Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415722131
eBook ISBN: 9781315858449
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936749


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When we take off our rose-colored glasses, we see lethal violence as a ubiquitous feature of humanity. It has been observed in virtually all times and places, from the simplest foraging societies to the largest, most complex nation-states, and all societies in between. Given its salient nature, violence has been a long-standing topic of interest to scholars in diverse disciplines. The study of violence and aggression is most useful when it is not only academic but also pragmatic. This requires that we examine evidence rather than intuition; that we be empirical rather than ideological. For a scientific understanding of the causes and consequences of lethal violence can tell us something about the human condition, as well as how, if we wish, to modify it.

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