European Sociobiological Society (ESS)

Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Sociobiological Society (ESS), University of Ghent, Belgium, July 7-9, 1997




Systematic Observations of Violent Interactions between Human Groups
by Otto M.J. Adang

PIOV Research Centre Public Order & Safety, PO Box 26, 4630 AA Hoogerheide, the Netherlands

Recently in the Netherlands a football hooligan was killed in a pre-planned confrontation between two rival hooligan groups. In this paper results of a study of confrontations between groups is presented. In the course of 3 and a half years 225 potential riot-situations in the Netherlands were observed systematically using ethological methods. In the course of over 700 hours the behaviour of football hooligans, violent demonstrators and the police was observed at close hand and recorded on a portable audio-recorder. Aim of the research was:
1. to give - for the first time - a systematic description of human behaviour in riot-situations;
2. to analyse how collective violence erupts and escalates and in how far police measures taken to prevent or fight the violence make sense.
The observations made clear that most notions (both popular and mass-psychological notions) on the behaviour of people in crowds are false. The following conclusions are among the most prominent:
1. people in crowds do not form a homogenous mass with individuals all more or less behaving in the same way;
2. people in crowds do not seem to have a higher probability of using violence than in daily circumstances;
3. people in crowds do not show a higher tendency to perform so-called emotional or irrational behaviour.

On the contrary, the behaviour of people in crowds seems to be influenced by the same factors that influence the "normal" everyday behaviour of humans. It was clear that people behaved in such a way as to reduce possible risks to themselves.

It was not possible in the course of the research to establish the nature of the relationships or social ties between the participants. However, it was clear that many individuals that were most actively involved in the use of violence knew one another and formed part of loose "groups". These "groups" were characterized by a shared tradition, common goals and attitudes and different forms of task division. They tended to react aggressively towards so-called "spies" or "traitors".
Although in actively seeking out confrontations it was clear that the persons involved ran certain risks, as the recent death indicates, it was clear that people behaved in such a way as to reduce possible risks to themselves. A number of strategies were employed to reduce the risks of performing behaviour that under other circumstances might lead to retaliation or punishment. Being part of a crowd in itself reduces risks, just as fishes forming part of a school or ungulates gathering together in a herd reduce the risk of predation. The "safety in numbers strategy" can often be observed, and especially those most likely to perform violence tended to stick together. An alternative strategy is one where the violent-prone individuals mix inconspiciuously within a larger crowd, only to come together when violence actually erupts. In addition (sub)groups in which individuals perform violent behaviour are not a random selection of individuals. In the very least, individuals present have something in common: either motives to be there, or goals they try to achieve. These common goals or motives may promote expressions of solidarity against a common "enemy", especially if there is a strong sense of belonging together and if the other side behaves in an antagonizing way.

Groups of football fans following their team may often be (especially in the case of international matches) have a closer genetic relatedness as compared with members of opposing fan groups. It is remarkable how individuals from otherwise opposing fangroups cooperate during and around international matches where there is a common enemy.
In almost all crowd situations, individuals meet in subgroups of which the members know one another. More elaborate strategies to reduce risks involve pre-event planning, division of tasks, testing of "strangers", aggression towards (potential) "spies" and towards "traitors", even outside the context of the events themselves. In cases where membership of or association with a particular group may constitute a risk in itself (as is the case with football hooligans) this association is not made manifest when outside the group, especially when on "enemy territory".
Performance of individual groupmembers during confrontations with opponents seems to be of special relevance: it is imperative to be brave and not run away. "Cowards" do not seem to be welcome in hard-core hooligan groups. Having been wounded or arrested brings special prestige.
Possible mechanisms underlying these behaviours will be discussed.




Religion and Science: Sex and Society: Forms and Processes of Cohesion
by Robin Allott

5 Fitzgerald Park, BN25IAX Seaford, E Sussex, UK

This is a very wide-ranging topic but the elements listed are those particularly important for any sociobiological approach to the functioning of societies. Religion has been in the past, and still is in a number of countries, the main cohesive force holding populations, particularly genetically disparate ones, together in one system. Patterns of sexual behaviour (often strongly influenced by religious beliefs and prescriptions) in different societies have determined the organisational character of the society - from the nuclear family (now apparently in decline) in most Western countries and the extended family of earlier periods which still survives over a large part of the third world. Both religion and patterns of sexual behaviour as cohesive forces have been, and increasingly will be, radically challenged by science, both as a mode of thought and as the source of technologies which change the environment in which societies operate, both at the societal level and at the level of the individual human being. A sociobiology of societies has to be founded on a sociobiology of the individuals forming the society, where the validity of the insights of evolutionary psychology is for consideration, and on a biologizing of sociology, the interpretation of social forms in the light of evolutionary thinking. The survival of populations (interpreted as gene pools) and of societal forms are interlocked; a sociobiology of societies, biological sociology, can start to consider the conditions and forces which over long periods determine the relative success or failure of nations and social systems.




The flaring-up of the ingroup-outgroup syndrome in Eastern Europe: the example of former Yugoslavia
by D. Avramov & R. Cliquet
University of Ghent, Department of Population Studies and Social Sciences Research Methods, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 49, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Like most other countries in Europe, many former communist countries in Eastern Europe were either multi-ethnic states or included substantial numbers of ethnic minorities. In addition to the historically settled autochthones of different ethnic stock, 20th century migrations have introduced new minorities, many of whom have preserved part of their original ethnic features.

The collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe provoked the resurgence of ingroup-outgroup antagonisms, in some cases even leading to inter-ethnic wars.

In the case of former Yugoslavia, the coincidence and interaction of the following circumstances are argued to have been conducive to the flaring-up of the ingroup-outgroup syndrome:

1. The historical evolution of the populations of former Yugoslavia, on whose territory the Orthodox-catholic dividing line passed, where a human wall was erected between the Ottoman empire and the Christian world, where World War I started and World War II showed its most cruel features through genocide, many offenders and witnesses of which are still alive;

2. The foundation of Yugoslavia in 1918 and its extension in 1945 brought together populations of different ethnicity and different levels of social and economic development;

3. The suppression and distortion by the Yugoslav communist regime of the (ingroup) Yugoslav responsibilities for the genocide on Serbs, Jews and Gypsies in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo during the World War II, including the striking omission of a post-war denazification in those regions, while placing the entire blame for the Yugoslav mass crimes on (outgroup) Nazism;

4. Marxist theories about ethnic groups considering markers of group identity such as religion, language, or mores and customs, as part of bourgeois strategy to distract the working class from real spheres of competition and exploitation. The communist doctrine included formal subnational autonomy, as long as it complied with the mainstream ideological system. However, just as there was no democratic political participation of citizens, group participation, also at the subnational level, was devoid of any real political power;

5. The ethnically heterogeneity of the former Yugoslav republics which were largely functional units of communist administration and interest;

6. The inability of the communist regime to generate further economic growth and welfare, and societal progress by the end of the 60s, and the subsequent shift of the communist political elites to ethnocentric goals instead of alternative socio-economic policies;

7. The perspective of the Bosnian Serbs of living in a centralistically conceived and by fundamentalist muslims dominated nation, as prefigured in Izetbegovic's "Islamic Declaration: A Programme for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples";

8. The absence of a normal social stratification with formed interest groups which would gather around political platforms;

9. The obvious but not yet completely clear role of several external powers, a.o. of the United States, Germany and the Vatican, some of which may have had various interests in dismantling former Yugoslavia;

10. The untimely and premature international recognition, mainly under pressure of Germany, of the former internal administrative borders as borders of the newly emerging states;

The case of former Yugoslavia shows how easily the deep-seated ingroup-outgroup drives can, in circumstances of societal crises, flare up, and how cunningly political establishments, within the country as well as abroad abused, of the presence of such drives to mobilise whole populations for resumed agonistic actions.




Kinship network and fertility in a Hungarian ethnic group, the Gipsies
by Tamas Bereczkei

Insitute of Behavioral Sciences, University Medical School of Pécs, Szigeti u. 12., H-7624 Pécs, Hungary

This study is based on a field work which was accomplished between Apr. 1994 and Jun. 1995 in a Gipsy (N=196) and a Hungarian non-Gipsy (N=212) population. The main goal of our study was to examine the primary factors having the largest impact on Gipsy fertility, compared to that of majority population. In contrary to the wide-spread notions - based mainly on anecdotal evidence - neither the level of education, nor the occupational status, nor the use of contraceptive pills seem to deeply influence the number of births. In fact, the evidence suggest that what is strongly predictive for fertility in the Gipsy population is the extensiveness of kinship network and the degree of the relatives' assistance with childcare.

Turke (1989) argues that in traditional societies, extended kinship network function to disperse the costs of childrearing through personal services (attending, nursing, teaching, etc.) provided by emotionally committed close kin. Although women in modern societies are on average wealthier than in traditional societies, they have fewer resources available for reproduction, since they lack significant help from close kin. As a consequence, the opportunity cost of rearing children increases, and parents in a modern society concentrate their resources on potentially successful but small numbers of children.

This hypothesis may explain the difference in fertility between Gipsies and Hungarians. In fact, our data supported the predictions derived from this explanatory model. First, extremely large differences have been found between the two ethnic groups in the size of kinship groups; Gipsy people have on average 19.3, whereas Hungarians have only 7.4 relatives living in the same village. Second, Gipsy men and women spend much more time in the company of non-cohabitant family members than Hungarians; the number of those who are habitually involved in daily and weekly meetings, four to six times higher among Gipsies than among Hungarians. Third, a particular nepotistic relationship, direct childcare provided by close relatives is an essential part of Gipsy social life; they invested more than twice as much time in helping activities related to assistance in helping the relatives' children, compared to Hungarians. Fourth, strong correlations have been found between the extension of kinship network and fertility among Gipsies (but not among Hungarians); the number of children depended on the availability of grandparents, the number of siblings, and other relatives.

In summary, our data proved to be highly supportive for the hypothesis that personal services through kinship network as particularly valuable resources account for the higher fertility in more traditional societies, compared to technologically more advanced ones. This result may help us to answer several theoretical questions such as referring to the process of demographic transition. Additionally, our results may enable us to rethink social policy about Gipsies in a more appropriate way based on evidence, and not on anecdotes, even prejudices.




The Rise of Ethnocentrism in the Former Soviet Union as a Reflection of ingroup/outgroup Kin Selection Paradigm
by Marina L. Butovskaya & Vincent Falger
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Leninski prospekt, 32 a, korp."B", Moscow, 117334 Russia / University of Utrecht, Department of International Relations, Achter Sint Pieter 200, 3512 BK Utrecht, the Netherlands

While anthropologists have long paid considerable attention to ethnocentrism, sociobiologists have only recently begun to focus on it. Since the early 80s, ethnocentrism has been regarded from the evolutionary standpoint, as an extention of kin selection: the propensity to favor kin over nonkin (van den Berghe, 1981; Shaw, Wong, 1989). In humans, victims are usually selected with reference to actual or estimated degree of kinship, and the ability to make a correct choice ultimately defines the individual's fitness (van der Dennen, 1994). Three categories of traits are usually selected, consciously or not, as ethnic markers: (1) physical characteristics; (2) visual symbols of group attribution (clothing, haircut, body painting, tattooing, etc.); (3) behavioural traits (language, manners, knowledge of group behavioural repertoire).

We intend to use specific examples to demonstrate the ways in which the sociobiological approach may enhance the understanding of interethnic conflicts in the former Soviet republics. The principal participants of such conflicts are men, and interethnic violence is often implicitly motivated by the need to defend one's own territories, raid neighbouring ones, and capture women. Although the protection of national interests, territorial integrity, restoration of historical justice, and struggle for independence are commonly declared to be the principal reasons of conflicts such as those between Russians and Moldavians in the Dniester Area, between Armenians and Azerbayjanian, between Georgians and Abkhasians, or the war in Chechnya, the hostilities were actually roused by the post-Soviet political elites which played upon people's xenophobia and ethnocentrism to manipulate masses. The efficiency of military operations was largely determined by ingroup factors. An important prerequisite of the nation's involvement in a conflict is the availibility of a large number of young people aged 18-35 and having no permanent job in their residence places (for example, before the war in Chechnya, about 40% of Chechen males, mostly young ones, were making money outside their republic in summer while staying home in winter. Ethnic groups which had preserved tribal traditions turned out to be more consolidated and consistent in pursuing conflicts as compared with those which had abandoned the extended kinship concept (cf. the war in Chechnya vers. the one between Georgians and Abkhasians). The traditional priority of males under these conditions was to leave as many descendants as possible (when interviewed on TV, many Chechen guerillas stressed their desire to have many children, for which purpose polygamy was introduced in Chechnya). According to the sociobiological theory, they regarded reproductive resources as the most important ones. Ethnocentrism is especially manifest in groups where membership is easily established on the basis of cultural or behavioural markers like linguistic competence and knowledge of traditions, and where ingroup identity and cohesiveness are strong. It is much less pronounced in situations where outgroup agonism is the principal consolidating force while ingroup integration is low.




Diversity and Boundedness of Ethnic Groups: Ecological Perspectives
by Elizabeth Cashdan
University of Utah, Department of Anthropology, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA

This study uses the 186 societies of the standard cross-cultural sample to explore the determinants of variation in inter-ethnic hostility, intra-group loyalty, and the size of ethnic groups. I show that these aspects of ingroup/outgroup behavior vary in predictable ways with variation in the physical environment (habitat diversity and climatic predictability), resource stress, and the social context.




Cultural Objects and Display: Verse Form
by John Constable
Kyoto University, Faculty of Integrated Human Studies, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-01 Japan

It is normally assumed in poetics that verse form, a feature found universally in the world's cultural repertoires, is to be explained as a particularly powerful general communicative tool. This paper will offer arguments and extensive numerical data relating to the mean lengths of words in English language verse and prose to show that verse is in fact a severe restriction, and particularly that line length is a restriction on word length. Alternative hypotheses to explain the prevalence of verse will be offered, including, amongst others, the registration of differences in verbal intelligence and the economical communication of gestures of commitment.




Creating predictive models of Ingroup-Outgroup behaviour through evolutionary psychology and situational determinism
by Charles Elworthy

European Academy, Schloss Wartin, D-16306 Wartin, Germany

A path to the creation of predictive models of ingroup/outgroup behaviour is through situational determinism: the combination of relevant models of individual psychology with the logic of the situation. I argue that evolutionary psychology is an appropriate technique for identifying and describing such cognitive processes, and present theoretical and empirical evidence that obedience to authority and conformity are cognitive adaptations underlying ingroup/outgroup behaviour, especially based on the work of Stanley Milgram. Finally I indicate how the theory of warfare of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita can be modified and improved through the incorporation of such a domain specific psychology.




Grandparent-parent relations, or why do daughters-in-law often lose out?
Harald A. Euler, Sabine Hoier & Barbara Weitzel
University of Kassel, Department of Psychology, Hollaend. Str. 36-38, D-34109 Kassel, Germany

If we look at intergenerational family relations from a sociobiological perspective, we can make specific predictions on the relations between each grandparent and each parent. Evolutionary theory provides four insights relevant to grandparent-parent relations:

1. Genetic similarity: the relation to one's own adult child is better than to the child's spouse
2. Grandparental support of their adult child's sex-specific reproductive strategy: better not get the son-in-law upset and drive him away
3. Paternity uncertainty: grandmothers tend to be closer to the next generation than grandfathers
4. Own reproductive potential: the dyad father-in-law/daughter-in-law represents a special case

If the fourth factor is stronger than the third, but both weaker than the first two, the most troubled of all eight possible relations should be the one between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. To test these predictions 1.917 participants were asked to rate the quality of the eight dyadic grandparent/parent relationships on a 7-point scale. 797 persons gave all 8 ratings, with the following average ranking from best to worst: mother/ daughter, father/daughter, mother/son, father/son, mother-in-law/son-in-law, father-in-law/son-in-law, father-in-law/ daughter-in-law, mother-in-law/daughter-in-law. The difference between each adjacent grandparent-parent relation rating was significant. Siblings gave similar ratings (r=64). The factor of genetic similarity was the strongest, followed by grandparental support of their child's sex-specific reproductive strategy, and by the dyad's reproductive potential, with the factor of paternity uncertainty the weakest of these four factors.




Marxism, Darwinism and Nationalism
by Lucio Ferreira Alves
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, Caixa Postal 68006 CEP 21944-970 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The national question constitutes, in a lesser or greater degree, a problem for almost every country. It can take a mild form (as Quebecois in Canada) or explode as an open-armed conflict (as those in Africa and in Eastern Europe).

However, for the socialist movement, specially in its Marxist version, the national question takes another dimension for it is usually considered marginal and bourgeois.

We have to admit that for a Marxist it is very difficult to reconcile the views that people was artificially divided by class with the historical fact that they were naturally divided on the national base, for it implies that social division transcend social consciousness.

Marx and Engels (1848) recognized nationalism as historically inevitable in a bourgeois society, but it represented, they stressed, the interest of the bourgeoisie of one country against that of the bourgeoisie of another country. Only the proletarians, they stressed, were by their very nature free of national prejudice and only them could destroy it and put into practice the true international fraternization under the banner of the communist democracy.

My purpose here is to challenge this interpretation and suggest that Darwin's evolutionary theory may offer a scientific explanation to understand the phenomenon of nationalism.

The recent ethnic conflicts in Eastern Europe, repressed for decades of mass education in the principles of internationalism, show that Marxism with its unpractical proletarian slogan has systematically failed to touch the emotional instinct of individuals to the national appeal. Indeed, it is seductive to suppose, but hard to support the view that in a communism society nationalism will fade away or that class solidarity will replace, in a near future, national identification.

Despite all the efforts and resolutions adopted by the First and the Second International to promote the cooperation between the working class and to prevent wars between themselves or how to strive with all their forces to utilize the economical and political crisis caused by the war to hasten the destruction of the class domination of capitalism, the edifice of internationalism proved to be an illusion. In fact during every crisis in a capitalist country identification with nation has been stronger than class solidarity.

Contrary to Marxism, nationalism has nothing to do with alienation. Nationalism has been with us for thousand of years. Johnson (1994) detected such appeal in Pericles' oration delivered at the end of the first year of the Peloponesian war, as long as 430 B.C.

Nationalism is a form of reference group, with a strong biological appeal, from which only a handful of people can boast of complete independence. It is one of the most complete and compelling myths of modern world, the most widespread, persistent, fundamental and complex form of collective identity that compete for human loyalty. It serves psychological, social and biological prospects, binds society together, consolidates rules and social structures, regulates and legitimates the economical, cultural, ideological and political aspects of everyday life of each citizen (Smith 1979).

The advantages of living in groups then seem to be clear. As a result it is necessary a cement to solidify such advantages. This cement is nationalism (or in the case of modern nation-states, patriotism). In this sense, nationalism can be interpreted under an evolutionary view, as Darwin (1871) suggested 125 years ago.

But Marx not only anticipated a classeless society, but also a society in which there would be no room for nationalism. However, he has undervaluated its psychological power. The subconscious and emotional sense of kinship that lies at the heart of nationalism, suggest that it is far from disappear.


References

Darwin, C. 1871 (1981) The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Princeton University Press. New Jersey.

Johnson, G.R. (1994) The Evolutionary Roots of Patriotism. In: Patriotism in the Life of Individuals and Nations, Bar-Tal, D. and Staub, E. eds. p. 1-40. Nelson-Hall. Chicago.

Marx, K. and Engels, F. 1848 (1989) Manifesto of the Communist Party. In: Collected Works of Marx and Engels, volume 6: 47-519. Progress Publishers. Moscow.

Smith, A.D. (1979) Nationalism in the Twentieth Century. Martin Robertson. London.




Ingroup and Outgroup Language: A Preliminary Analysis of U.S. Presidents
by William Kitchin
Loyola College, Department of Political Science, Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21210

This paper is an initial analysis of the proposition that language patterns serve as an indicator of the presence of underlying ingroup/outgroup thought. The basic assumption is that the language a person uses reflects underlying, perhaps unarticulated thought patterns. If a person is conceptualizing and thinking about a problem or situation in ingroup/outgroup terms, that ingroup/outgroup conceptualization will be reflected in certain linguistic patterns, in certain word usages. The particular linguistic patterns associated with ingroup/outgroup conceptualizations are expected to be those patterns associated with emotional, holistic cognition as opposed to rational, analytic cognition. (Emotional, holistic and rational, analytic linguistic patterns have been reported in prior research.) Thus, linguistic patterns (which are neurobiological constructs) may serve as indicators of ingroup/outgroup cognition even when the literal, "surface" language itself does not communicate ingroup/outgroup separation. Thus, homo sapiens through evolution acquired an ability for communication with the symbols of verbal language, and as a byproduct of this evolutionary process a window was created into the abstractions beneath the language. The concepts (abstractions) are always present whether a species uses verbal language or nonverbal language; verbal language is unique, however, in that it provides a source of data from which one can attempt to discern general, unspoken thoughts.

The data for the study are press conferences held by U.S. Presidents Reagan and Clinton. Press conferences are largely spontaneous and not filtered through speech writers. This study is currently in progress and conclusions are not yet available.




Russian Ethnic Humor: Xenophobia or Consolidation?
by Alexander Kozintsev
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Saint-Petersburg, 199034 Russia

Butts of ethnic humor (EH) have much in common with mythological tricksters. According to C.G. Jung, "the trickster is a collective shadow figure, an epitome of all the inferior traits of character in individuals", and it can construct itself out of the individual shadow "as a corresponding projection on other social groups and nations". It is therefore misleading to regard EH as satire. In 19th century Russia, inhabitants of various regions had nicknames which alluded to stupidity but derived from obviously fictitious tales much like those told about Abderites in Greece or Gothamites in England. In contrast to the latter, however, each subgroup of Russians including Muscovites was a butt of some joke. Because all were involved in mutual mockery, such EH was a factor of ethnic consolidation. Another category of EH was directed at minorities such as Gypsies or Jews which seemed "strange" and produced mixed feelings of fear and amusement. In the 20th century, when regional differences within the Russian nation had become unimportant, the role of Soviet Abderites was assigned to Chukchis, demonstrating that part of EH was still close to trickster tales and not based on xenophobia. Other butts of Soviet Russian EH (Jews, Georgians, Armenians, and Ukrainians), broadly speaking, also belonged to the ingroup ("Soviet people") and not to the outgroup. Moreover, jokes about Ukrainians, who are ethnically closest to Russians, are the rudest and resemble Dutch jokes about the Flemings, in keeping with Freud's idea of "narcissism of tiny differences". Such EH has nothing to do with xenophobia (in fact, Ukrainians were never regarded as strangers). Rather, it produces a caricatured image of one's own ethnic self and has a corrective function. It may be predicted that after these ethnic groups become real outgroup members for the Russians, Russian EH will gradually cease to be concerned with them.




The problems of interethnic conflicts
by Oleg V. Khrennikov, Vladimir S. Krilov & Ayder R. Kadyrov
Crimean Medical Institute, Department of Psychiatry, 333000 Simferopol, Ukraine

The aim of our investigation was a comparative study of conflicts behavior of different ethnic groups with consideration of racial, religions, languages belonging. As a model of global interethnic conflicts we investigate pecularities of the conflicts among foreign students of the Crimean Medical Institute (citizens from different countries Europe, Africa, Asia - about 30 countries). All the subjects are living jointly in the same hostel and have to meet constantly and mix together as per chance and desire. The study is done using the above method based on principles of ethological research. The obtained data demonstrate:

1. Existance of specifity in avoidance of common living in one room with representatives of different countries;

2. Countries whose citizens more often demonstrated intergroup aggressive behavior differ by ethnocentric directiveness and "closeness";

3. It was note that there are ethnic groups whose conflicted only between themselves;

4. Existence of predisposition in nonverbal aspects of aggressive behavior representative through the communication channels (facial expression, posture, gesture) in different ethnic groups. As rule more aggressive were the groups whose "repertoire" of aggressiveness was representative in posture channel;

5. In the structure of aggressive behavior was the distance between observed groups (from displays of separate aggressive elements of non-verbal behavior to aggression in a form of complexes aggressive elements);

6. Index of aggressiveness (the amount of aggressive elements per time) divides all countries on sub-groups. The sub-groups were formed by countries situated mostly on the same latitudes (each sub-group on different latitude).




Speech/Ritual Co-evolution: An Ingroup/Outgroup Model
by Chris Knight
University of East London, Department of Sociology, Longbridge Rd., Dagenham, Essex RM8 2AS, England

Abstract: Speech in its modern, syntactical form co-evolved with the establishment of coalitionary alliances bonded through communal "pretend-play". Primates lack words or syntax because they have no use for one another's fictions.

Human rituals - metaphorical "pretend-play" performances - assert group identity and a boundary against an outgroup. Costs cannot be cut because outsiders will be unimpressed by coded whispers: they need the full display. Such displays simultaneously generate and replicate in participant's heads a shared ingroup self-representation (for example, "the totem", "God", "the Rainbow Snake").

Words are the reverse side of the ritual coinage. Members of each ritual ingroup settle on abbreviated, shorthand versions of their pretend-play routines for coded, conspiratorial use among themselves. Here, thanks to the prevailing trust, costs CAN be cut: a word is simply a conventionalised, abbreviated, low-cost bit of communal pretend-play. Syntax is the recursive embedding of such communal mini-rituals (mini-fictions) within larger pretend-play sequences.

Ingroup conventionalisation of originally imaginative, metaphorical expressions not only dramatically reduces transmission costs: a further advantage is that it permits the exclusion of outsiders, ignorant of the code.




The Intellectual Construction of Immigration Policy: An Evolutionary Perspective
by Kevin MacDonald
California State University, Department of Psychology, Long Beach, CA 90840-0901, USA

Immigration policy is a paradigmatic example of conflicts of interest between ethnic groups because immigration policy determines the future demographic composition of the nation. Immigration policy, like military conquest, affects gene frequencies within populations, and indeed, ethnic groups unable to influence immigration policy in their own interests will eventually be displaced by groups able to accomplish this goal. I will examine the intellectual construction of pro- and anti-restrictionist arguments as they have occured in the history of United States immigration debates from 1920-1965 from an evolutionary perspective. The pro-immigration forces were led by ethnic activists who argued that all ethnic groups have similar native levels of talent and ability. This position was intellectually buttressed by the academic prestige of the highly politicized Boasian School of anthropology, and Boas and his followers were actively involved in the immigration debates and cited regularly by pro-immigration forces. Immigration advocates portrayed ethnic groups as cultural constructions devoid of biological reality. They developed a cultural pluralism model in which different ethnic groups would maintain their cultural separation but would live in a harmonious and mutually advantageous manner. The most common restrictionist argument was that maintaining the ethnic status quo was the only policy that was fair to all ethnic groups, an argument that served restrictionist ethnic interests because it would preserve their own demographic and cultural hegemony. Restrictionists also argued that immigration would give rise to between-group ethnic conflict in situations where immigrants did not assimilate culturally and genetically with other groups. Finally, although not a feature of the Congressional debates, some restrictionists such as Madison Grant, emphasized the genetic superiority of natives compared to recent immigrants. Theories of racial differences became increasingly discredited during this period, in large part because of the success of the Boasian School of anthropology in dominating intellectual discourse regarding race. Thus, as expected by an evolutionist, both sides attempted to mold immigration policy to advance their ethnic interest in increasing their demographic and political power within the United States. However, they did so with very different arguments all of which will be examined within the context of recent theory and data.




Deceptive sexual signalling as a preadaptation to ritual: a mechanism for establishing ingroup/outgroup boundaries
by Camilla Power
University College London, Department of Anthropology, Gower St., London WC1E 6BT, UK

Human ritual involves highly costly activity. Its most expensive forms generally invoke imaginary worlds or beings as central ritual constructs. From an evolutionary standpoint, what does any individual gain by expending energy on such imagined constructs? Or any other individual from sharing in such fictions?

A systematic process in which hominids are led to expend time and energy on a symbolic domain' - i.e. things that do not exist - arises as a result of conflict between the sexes over levels of investment in increasingly large-brained offspring. As encephalization accelerated in late archaic grade Homo sapiens, females came under increasing reproductive stress. The human female appears well-designed' for wasting' the time of philanderer males and rewarding more attentive males, through the feature of concealed ovulation. However, concealed ovulation can only work to promote mating effort. Once a female is pregnant, she is liable to be deserted by a male who has mating opportunities elsewhere. From the viewpoint of a roving or philanderer male, the signal which marks out which females are imminently fertile is menstruation; it should pay males to bond with and maintain consortships with those females. A female with a menstrual signal can therefore manipulate male behaviour and promote mating effort such as provisioning, potentially inciting males to desert non-cycling females. The female counter-strategy to a philanderer strategy of targetting menstruating females involves a coalition of non-cycling females restricting access to cycling females. Rather than hide the imminent fertility signal, non-cycling females are predicted to display and amplify signals of menstruating coalition members because this should promote male mating effort. Therefore the entire coalition, cycling and non-cycling, will signal we are all menstruating females' using blood and cosmetic blood-like substances to advertise imminent fertility and recruit male mating effort to the coalition. The strategy succeeds as long as energy derived from male mating effort is channelled to non-cycling as well as to cycling females.

This sham menstruation' strategy forms a preadaptation to ritual with a collective ingroup engaged in deceptive signalling. It is well-designed as a reciprocal altruistic strategy between coalition members. A female who is cycling one year is liable to be non-cycling (pregnant/lactating) the next year. She must prove her reliability in co-operating with the ingroup in hard to fake' terms when she is cycling before she derives any benefits as a non-cycling female from manipulation of signals of other cycling females. The sham menstruation' model yields predictions which can be tested against the archaeological and ethnographic records. The evidence for the earliest ritual tradition in the southern African Middle Stone Age as a cosmetics industry focused on red pigment is reviewed.




Genetic Similarity Theory and the Genetic Basis of Ethnocentrism
J. Philippe Rushton
University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada

It is not an accident that everywhere in Nature, birds of a feather flock together. Genes influence why people tend to marry and associate with others like themselves. The important pull of genetic similarity can be felt in small groups and even large ones (national and international). Why do we like and seek genetic similarity and avoid and fear dissimilarity? And, why do people congregate into groups in the first place? The answers can be found by examining altruism.

In 1984, my colleagues and I proposed Genetic Similarity Theory as a new theory of attraction and liking based on kin-selection reasoning about altruism to apply to the human case (Rushton, Russell & Wells, 1984). With humans, altruism is often directed to non-related people, especially spouses and best friends. We postulated that people detect genetic similarity in others in order to give preferential treatment to those who are most similar to themselves. There are many sources of empirical and theoretical support for this view, including (1) the inclusive fitness theory of altruism, (2) kin recognition studies of animals raised apart, (3) assortative mating studies, (4) favoritism in families, (5) selective similarity among friends, and (6) ethnocentrism.

This paper will review recent literature for the theory and make predictions about ethnic relations (Rushton, 1989, 1997). As a result of evolution, people learn to identify and prefer their own group over others. Members of ethnic groups tend to move into the same neighbourhoods, associate with each other in clubs and mutual aid societies, and enjoy their common identity and heritage. Despite variation within ethnic groups, individuals of the same ethnic group are typically more similar to each other, genetically, than they are to individuals from different ethnic groups. As such, this provides a genetic basis for ethnocentric attitudes.


Rushton, J.P., Russell, R.J.H. & Wells, P.A. (1984). Genetic similarity theory: Beyond kin-selection. Behavior Genetics, 14, 179-193.

Rushton, J.P. (1989). Genetic similarity, human altruism, and group selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 503-559.

Rushton, J.P. (1997). Race, Evolution, and Behavior. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. (Softcover Edition, with Afterword).




The Evolution of Sociocultural Systems
by David Smillie
Duke University, Department of Zoology, Box 90325, Durham, NC 27708, USA

Issues having to do with ingroup-outgroup relations reflect qualities that are pervasive throughout our species and that may well be a part of an evolved overall strategy for the acquisition and maintenance of differentiated socio-cultural systems in humans. Prior to making judgments about how to treat such problems when they arise today, we will do best as scientists to attempt to understand their underlying cause.

In this paper I discuss a hypothetical scenario dealing with the origin of a species pattern in modern Homo sapiens resulting in the formation of sociocultural systems in Africa, probably about 120-150 thousand years ago. Social-emotional factors rather than cognitive capacities are crucial in the process of culture formation and maintenance. One aspect of this species pattern is a biologically based emotional commitment to members of one's own group and a corresponding suspicion of those who are outsiders. I also discuss some of the kinds of evidence, both contemporary and historical which supports such an account.




Evolutionary hypotheses ("disciplined speculation"): Origins of male ingroup behaviors
by Arthur M. Squires
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, P.O. Box 10098, Blacksburg, VA 24062, USA

Consider humankind's last ancestral male ape. Having found no fossils, most paleoanthropologists tend to ignore him, even in general accounts of hominid evolution. In two such accounts, both Foley and Bilsborough suggest he was much larger than his consorts. Foley believes he was often obliged to compete with another male, one on one, for access to a fertile female. How, then, did male ingroup behaviors arise among his descendants? How ingroup morality? How reflexive enmity toward outgroups? How the male adolescent's trial by hazing? How the one-on-one fostering he is often later afforded by a non-kin senior male? How, especially, non-kin male cooperation?

Much thought devoted to such questions has focused upon outcomes of the human story. My paper will inquire instead into what early historical circumstances might have accompanied emergence of humankind's ultra-sociality. I will ask a good deal of indulgence on your part. Yet paleoanthropological, paleoarcheological, and primatological evidence is now sufficient. I will argue, that we may profit from disciplined speculation about the social order of one branch of the hominid line, the robust australopithecine. The robust scene may well reflect earlier hominid life for several millions of years. An awareness is emerging of similarities between robust fossils and those of early Homo species. Robusts and humans may share a common, post-afarensis ancestor not yet found.

Emergence of many male ingroup behaviors is a natural consequence of the social order to which the evidence leads me. The maturing of certain critical behaviors (especially selective fostering of a male cadet by a mature male with power or knowledge) appears to set the stage for evolution of the first species in the Homo line from a last australopithecine ancestor.




Science and Policy
by Dorothy Tennov (presented by Vincent Falger)

R, R. 9, Box 251, Millsboro, DE 19966, USA

Science does not follow designated, preordained and errorless pathways. Analysis of the motivations of scientists are customarily ruled outside of science as are discussions of "morality" and "politics". The distinction seems clear: it is unobjectionable to study morality and political behavior; it is unacceptable to advocate a political or moral position as if it were the result of scientific analysis. But it is the business of science to remove limitations to perception, analysis and discussion of its multifaceted subject-matter. If there is anything scientists agree on, it is their common abhorrence of limitations on their "free speech". Yet the history of science continues to be filled with errors based in limitations imposed by cultural and personal values (some of which disintegrate under the light of objective analysis, others are strengthened by scientific scrutiny). New communication technologies increase the likelihood that such analyses will be conducted and their results disseminated. Virtually overnight, the Internet has increased information exchange by providing fast and easy access to boundless sources and by giving scholars and scientists the ability to conduct serious discussions among colleagues both publicly and privately with an ease and directness that exceeds by an order of magnitude anything previously possible. Some of the discussions among evolutionists have highlighted the issue of human vulnerability to ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and racism. Recommendations of Social Darwinist eugenics policies by members of evolutionary organizations suggest an affirmative answer to the question of whether some characteristic of evolutionary science invites contribution from persons involved in collating and publishing correlational surveys of contemporary racial and ethnic group differences in socially relevant features. This paper examines statements by various participants in the discussion with the aim of clarifying some apparently divisive issues that require more precise identification before disagreements can be resolved and workable decisions about policy can be made.




The Socio-Psychological Underpinnings of Intergroup Behaviour: Bringing in the Context of Hominid Evolution
by Kristiaan Thienpont
University of Ghent, Department of Population Studies and Social Science Research Methods, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 49, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Human social behaviour in general differs from group behaviour among non-human primates and other species in two fundamental respects: the institutionalisation of social behaviour and the role of cognitive and motivational processing of social reality. The latter form the subject of this paper. The development of social cognitive skills add a mental dimension to social behaviour as it can be observed and can therefore not be ignored in the analysis of human social behaviour in general and intergroup behaviour in particular.

The underlying psychological determinants of intergroup behaviour can be subdivided into three broad groupings : communication, perception, and reflection. Since communication contains a fundamental social component as well, the emphasis here is on perception and introspective relfection of social reality.

A number of determinants and mechanisms have been suggested as causal or related factors in the development of cognitive social skills. In this paper, I would like to frame two explanatory sociobiological models that directly pertain to the role of group size in the emergence of human intergroup behaviour, within the context of hominid evolution. These models are the intergroup competition hypothesis from McEachron & Baer (1982) and the Balance of Power mechanism as suggested by Alexander.

The general working hypothesis in this paper is that population/group size was one of the main selection pressures on the development of social cognitive skills. This assumption is based on the fact that with increasing group size, the genetic relatedness of the group members decreases. This had a number of consequences, one of which was the development of manipulative social cognitive skills.




Separatism or Unity? A Model for Solving Ethnic Conflicts
by Jan Tullberg
Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

This speech outlines a consistent and rational model for solving ethnic conflicts. I will argue that ethnic separation should be regarded as an alternative to national unity and not simply dismissed as an impossible solution. A decision on separation or unity should be made democratically by the group whose separation has been proposed. If separation is approved, migration over the border between the newly formed states should be a part of such a potential solution.

The speech has two main parts: an analysis of the evolutionary background to ethnic conflicts, and a model for solving separatistic demands. The present international impotence in situations of ethnic conflict is to a high degree caused by seeing most solutions as impossible - either realistically or morally. This speech stresses the virtue of having one model instead of the "flexibility" that currently prevails under the disguise of generally acclaimed, but contradictory ideals.




Racism, Ethnocentrism, and Xenophobia: In our Genes or in our Memes?
by Pierre L. van den Berghe

University of Washington, Department of Sociology, 202 Savery, Box 353340, Seattle, Washington 98195-3340, USA

Keynote Address; no abstract available




Of Badges, Bonds and Boundaries: Ingroup/outgroup Differentiation and Ethnocentrism Revisited
by Johan M.G. van der Dennen
University of Groningen, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Oude Kijk in t Jatstraat 5, 9712 EA, Groningen, The Netherlands

At the fifth Annual Meeting of the European Sociobiological Society (ESS), St. John's College, Oxford, U.K. (January 5-6, 1985), I presented the following paper:

"I present a literature review of theories and research concerning the phenomena of ethnocentrism, ingroup/outgroup differentiation, moralistic aggression, xenophobic aggression, collective intolerance, and intergroup violence, all of which are regarded as parts of one complex and composite syndrome. An attempt to interpret the ethnocentrism syndrome as a symbol-system-cum-sentiment-structure is offered, and its value as an explanatory category for the causation of primitive' warfare is assessed"*

In this paper I intend to revisit this literature and research, and especially what has been added since that time (in particular the important Shaw & Wong Genetic Seeds of Warfare monography and Annemarie Flohr's Fremdenfeindlichkeit: Biosoziale Grundlagen von Ethnozentrismus**). I shall also attempt to assess the value of sociobiological or evolutionary ethnocentrism theory to account for the origin of warfare and intergroup violence in general***.

Notes


* This paper was published as "Ethnocentrism and ingroup/outgroup differentiation" in: V. Reynolds, V. Falger & I. Vine (eds.) The Sociobiology of Ethnocentrism: Evolutionary dimensions of xenophobia, discrimination, racism and nationalism, 1987, pp. 1-47.

** Shaw, R.P. & Y. Wong (1989): Genetic Seeds of Warfare: Evolution, Nationalism and Patriotism. London: Unwin Hyman.
Flohr, A.K. (1994): Fremdenfeindlichkeit: biosoziale Grundlagen von Ethnozentrismus. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.

*** Based on the chapter "Of badges, bonds and boundaries: ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and war" in: J.M.G. van der Dennen (1995) The Origin of War. Groningen: Origin Press.




Human Evolution: Savannah vs. Aquatic Theory
by Marc Verhaegen

Mechelbaan 338, 2580 Putte, Belgium

The Savannah Theory, still followed by many anthropologists and by most laymen, states that our naked skin and vertical gait are part of an adaption for life in the savannahs. This, however, is highly implausible. All the available evidence suggests that humans evolved in a warm and wet environment, at the edge between land and water.

The first australopithecine ever found was discovered in what is now a very hot, dry, treeless grassland (Dart 1925), but it is now realised that the paleo-environments were always wetter than today. All hominid fossils stem from former water-rich milieus such as riverbeds, marshes, lagoons, lake-margins, sea-coasts. Lucy, for instance, was found amid crocodile and turtle eggs and crab claws' (Johanson & Taieb 1982).

Humans are anatomically and physiologically the opposite of savannah-dwellers: savannah mammels run twice or thrice as fast as humans, do not have dextrous hands like primates or racoons or otters, have sun-reflecting fur, but no white subcutaneous fat to prevent heat loss, their body core temperature and daily temperature fluctuations are much higher, they do not have to drink daily and their maximal urine concentration is three or four times that of humans, they have a keen sense of smell, do not make much noise, never copulate face-to-face, etc.

Most or all human features can be accounted for by previous adaptations to forested (primate heritage) and/or semi-aquatic milieus (human innovations): linear build, erect trunk and broad torso, short toes of nearly equal length, naked body, abundant sebaceous glands, subcutaneous fat-layer, descended larynx, elaborate sound production, large brain, slow postnatal growth...




On Racism
by Dan Vining (presented by Vincent Falger)
University of Pennsylvania, 3718 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

In the first part of this paper, I explore the dictionary definitions of "racism" and "racist". In the second and final part, I lay out some of their legal aspects in various countries of Europe and North America.




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