By Thomas A. Gregor
A stimulating and leading edge attention of the idea that, factors, and perform of peace in societies either historic and sleek, human and primate.
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Extra info for A Natural History of Peace
Characteristics of relatively peaceful societies. The comparative study of peaceful societies is just beginning in the social sciences, and there are still no generally agreed upon standards as to how such cultures would be identified or how degrees of peacefulness would be measured. Indeed, for some, the whole enterprise of identifying societies as peaceful or otherwise is an illusion, since what constitutes an aggressive act in one culture may not be perceived that way in another (Heelas 1989).
The notion of restorative peace reflects the fact that no peace system is perfect. All societies must have ways of separating would-be belligerents, dampening the spiral of conflict, and reconciling former adversaries. Many institutions serve this purpose, including those of conflict management and conflict resolution. The most fundamental is the interpersonal process of reconciliation. In chapter 2, the primatologist Frans de Waal shows that reconciliation is not limited to human beings. Indeed, it is a critical part of the behavioral repertory of nonhuman primates.
Recognizing this fact is in some ways a disappointment. We would like to discover the secret to peace. In our imagination it would be a transferable key that could unlock peace in our own culture and others. The reality turns out to be more complex. Peace, where and when it occurs, is over-determined. We find no single basis for peaceful relationships, but a variety of overlapping institutions, values, and attitudes that run the scale from agape, or selfless love, to skill at reconciliation, to fear of deterrence and avoidance of others.