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University of Edinburgh

School of Social & Political Science

Social Anthropology
2013 2014

Anthropology of Violence
Wednesdays, 14.10 16.00, Lecture Room 5,
Chrystal Macmillan Building
Dr. Casey High
Course Description
This course examines a variety of anthropological approaches to the study of violence, ranging
from evolutionary explanations for male aggression to studies of changing American attitudes
toward terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. It looks critically at the theoretical,
methodological and ethical questions raised in studies of violence through ethnographic case
studies from around the world. The course considers attempts to define violence as a concept
in the social sciences and explores the possible causes, meanings, and uses of violent
practices from a variety of different cultural contexts and perspectives. It gives particular
attention to the political and economic conditions that promote war and other violent behaviour
as well as specific cultural expressions within violent practices. It also discusses ethnographic
descriptions of peaceful societies and examines the challenges of reconciliation in the
aftermath of conflict.
Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course students will be able to:

Understand how and why violence has become a major area of anthropological research
in recent decades.

Distinguish between and critically analyse a wide variety of theoretical approaches to

violence in the social sciences and beyond.

Relate specific historical and ethnographic case studies of violence to current debates
in anthropology.

Draw on the course readings and class discussions to engage in key debates about
contemporary violence.

Critically examine the political and ethical dimensions of research on violence.

Recognise the ways in which the study of violence draws on multiple disciplinary
approaches from the natural and social sciences.

Write critically and creatively about violence from an anthropological perspective.

Intended Learning Outcomes continued

Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate evidence from specific case studies, and
use such material in building coherent arguments in essay writing and seminar
Course Delivery
The course will be taught over ten sessions, on Wednesdays, 14.10 16.00, Seminar Room
5, Chrystal Macmillan Building. Attendance of the entirety of these sessions is
compulsory. The first half of each session will consist of a lecture covering a specific theme
in the anthropology of violence in the first hour, while the second half of each session will
involve discussion and small group work. All students should do the essential reading
before each class.
You are strongly encouraged to use email for routine communication with lecturers. We shall
also use email to communicate with you, e.g., to assign readings for the second hour of each
class. All students are provided with email addresses on the university system, if you are not
sure of your address, which is based on your matric number, check your EUCLID database
entry using the Student Portal.
This is the ONLY email address we shall use to communicate with you. Please note that
we will NOT use private email addresses such as yahoo or hotmail; it is therefore
essential that you check your university email regularly, preferably each day.
Assessment Information
All Single and Combined Honours, BA (Humanities and Social Science), and non-graduating
students will be assessed by:

A coursework essay of approximately 1000 words that carries a weighting of 30%

towards the final overall mark for the course as a whole.
An assessed essay of approximately 3000 words that is due near the end of the
semester and carries a weighting of 70% of the final mark.

Please refer to the Honours Handbook for more complete information about assessment
The following are some of the criteria through which the essays will be marked. However, it is
important to note that the overall mark is a result of a holistic assessment of the assignment
as a whole.

Does the essay address the question with sufficient focus?

Does the essay show a grasp of the relevant concepts and knowledge?
Does the essay demonstrate a logical and effective pattern of argument?
Does the essay support an argument with relevant examples?
Does the essay demonstrate reflexivity and critical thinking in relation to arguments and
Is the essay written clearly and convincingly?
Is the essay adequately presented in terms of: correct referencing and quoting; spelling,
grammar and style; layout and visual presentation?

Submitting your coursework

Course work will be submitted online using our submission system ELMA. You will not be
required to submit a paper copy.
Marked course work, grades and feedback will be returned online you will not receive a
paper of your marked course work or feedback.
For information, help and advice on submitting coursework and accessing feedback, please
see the ELMA wiki at http://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/SPSITWiki/ELMA
Length Penalties
Essays over the word limit will lose 10% of their marks. (This applies as much to essays of 5
words over as to essays of 500 words over). This word limit includes footnotes and appendices
but not the bibliography.
Any apparently deliberate misrepresentation of the word count or failure to declare a word
count will lead to a deduction of 20 marks. N.B. This can affect your final result.
Late submission of assessed items
Unlike coursework in Years 1 and 2, for all Social Anthropology Honours assessment, NO
Please refer to the Honours handbook for additional information regarding late submission of
coursework and essays and instructions on how to submit a Lateness Penalty Waiver.
Special Circumstances:
If you find yourself struggling due to illness, an accident or bereavement, you can ask your
Personal Tutor and Student Support Officer for advice on applying for Special Circumstances.
You should also read the Special Circumstances section of the Honours Handbook.

Coursework Essay Questions (1000 words):

Submission Deadline: Tuesday 15 October 2013 by 12 noon

Why has violence become such a prominent theme in anthropology?


What ethical and methodological problems can anthropologists face in conducting

ethnographic research on violence?


To what extent should studies of violence reflect the political stance or personal
convictions of the researcher?


Why do anthropologists generally reject biological explanations of violence?


Why are colonial social categories so important for understanding violent conflicts in
the contemporary world?

Assessed Essay Questions (3000 words):

Submission Deadline: Wednesday 11 December 2013 by 12 noon

In what ways have anthropologists and other social scientists attempted to define
violence as a concept?


To what extent is male aggression an evolutionary adaptation?


How can attention to indigenous cosmology and/or mythology help anthropologists

better understand contemporary violent conflicts?


Why do anthropologists tend to view memories of past violence as forms of social



What does it mean to say that some forms of violence are invisible?


How does structural violence relate to specific forms of overt or intimate violence?


Why are violent practices so often related to symbolic understandings of gender and/or
the body?


In what ways are nation-states responsible for promoting and carrying out violence?


What are the challenges of reconciliation in the aftermath of violence?


To what extent is it misleading to talk about cultures of violence or violent societies?


This reading list sets out both essential and further readings. Students must read all of the
essential readings before each session and be prepared to comment on them in class. To
this end students will be required to have written a brief paragraph on each of the essential
readings and bring it with them to class. Although these paragraphs will not form part of the
overall assessment, they will form the basis of our class discussion. Students should refer to
further readings in both pieces of assessed work. All essential readings, and some further
readings, are available online or as PDFs on Learn.

18 September
25 September
2 October
9 October
16 October
23 October
30 October
6 November
13 November
20 November

What is Violence and how do we Study it?
Violence and Human Nature
Historical Perspective: Conflicts in Colonialism
Remembering Violence
The Violence of Everyday Life
Gender and Violence
The Body
Cosmology and the Poetics of Violence
Interventions of the State: The War on Terror
Peace and Reconciliation

Primary textbooks for the course:

Scheper-Hughes, N. and P. Bourgois (eds.) (2004) Violence in War and Peace: an
anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Taylor, C. (1999) Sacrifice as Terror: the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Oxford: Berg.


WEEK 1: What is Violence and how do we Study It?
We begin this week by looking critically at what anthropologists and other social scientists are
talking about when they describe, interpret and theorize violence. Is it possible to define
universally what violent behaviour is cross-culturally? We will examine some of the underlying
assumptions made in studies of violent practices and discuss the ethical issues involved for
researchers who carry out fieldwork in the context of war and socio-political conflict.
Essential Readings:
Riches, D. (ed.) (1986) The Anthropology of Violence. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
(Chapter 1: The Phenomenon of Violence, Pgs. 1-27)
Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. (Introduction and
chapter 1: Violating Apartheid in the United States, Pgs. 1-47)
Further Readings:
Sluka, J. (1995) Reflections on Managing Danger in Fieldwork: dangerous anthropology
in Belfast. In C. Nordstrom and A. Robben (eds.) Fieldwork under Fire:
contemporary studies of violence and survival. Berkeley: University of California
Press. (pgs. 276-294).
Robben, A. (1995) The Politics of Truth and Emotion among Victims and Perpetrators of
Violence. In Fieldwork under Fire contemporary studies of violence and survival.
(p. 81-103)
Zulaika, J. (1995) The Anthropologist as Terrorist. Fieldwork under Fire: contemporary
studies of violence and survival. (pgs. 206-223).
Swedenburg, T. (1995) With Genet in the Palestinian Field. In Fieldwork under Fire:
contemporary studies of violence and survival. (p. 25-40)
Robben, A. and C. Nordstrom (1995) The Anthropology and Ethnography of Violence
and Sociopolitical conflict. In Fieldwork under Fire: contemporary studies of
violence and survival. (pgs. 1-23).
Benjamin, W. (1996) Critique of Violence. In M. Bullock and Michael Jennings (eds.)
Walter Benjamin: selected writings, volume 1, 1913-1926.
Starn, O. (1991) Missing the Revolution: anthropologists and the war in Peru. Cultural
Anthropology 6(1).
Rosaldo, R. (2004) Grief and the Headhunters Rage. In Violence in War and Peace.
(chapter 17)
WEEK 2: Violence and Human Nature
For some anthropologists, violent practices such as rape and murder are as much a result of
human evolution as they are influenced by socioeconomic conditions. Are men psychologically
predisposed to be violent? What do they have to gain in Darwinian terms through such
practices? Looking at studies ranging from a classic ethnography of tribal violence in the
Amazon and urban crime rates in the United States, we will discuss the implications and
problems of sociobiological approaches that explain violence as an evolutionary adaptation in
human psychology.

Essential Readings:
UNESCO (1986) The Seville Statement on Violence.
De Waal, F. (1992) Aggression as a Well-integrated Part of Primate Social Relationships:
a critique of the Seville statement on violence. In J. Silverberg and P. Gray
(eds.) Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates. New York:
Oxford University Press (pgs. 37-56).
Sussman, R. (1999) The Myth of Man the Hunter/Man the Killer and the Evolution of
Human Morality. In The Biological Basis of Human Behaviour. R. Sussman, ed.
Pgs. 121-129. Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Further Readings:
Milgram, S. (1963) Behavioral Study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social
Psychology 67(4): Pgs. 371-378.
Otterbein. K. (2000) A History of Research on Warfare in Anthropology. American
Anthropologist 101(4): Pgs. 794-805.
Chagnon. N. (1988) Life Histories, Blood Revenge and Warfare in a Tribal Population.
Science 239: 985-92.
Daly, M. and M. Wilson (1982) Homicide and Kinship. American Anthropologist 84(2):
Pgs. 372-378.
Knauft, B. (1991) Violence and Sociality in Human Evolution. Current Anthropology
32(4): 391-428.
Wrangham, R. and D. Petersen (1996) Demonic Males: apes and the origins of human
violence. New York: Mariner Books.
Buss, D. (2006) The Murderer Next Door: why the mind is designed to kill. New York:
Penguin Press.
Buss, D. (2008) Evolutionary Psychology: the new science of the mind. Boston: Pearson,
WEEK 3: Historical Perspective: Conflicts in Colonialism
This week we examine how various forms of violence have emerged and changed through
colonial history and the new political and economic relations it brought to many parts of the
world. We will look at how historical approaches to violence have challenged assumptions
previously made about tribal warfare and genocide. In what ways did Europes colonial
expansion in Africa, Asia and the Americas create new spaces for violence? To what extent
have western imaginations of the other inflected contemporary violence conflicts in the
postcolonial world?
Essential Readings:
Taylor, C. (1999) The Hamitic Hypothesis in Rwanda and Burundi. In Sacrifice as
Terror: the Rwandan genocide of 1994. (Chapter 3: pgs 55-97).
Ferguson, R.B. (1999) A Savage Encounter: Western contact and the Yanomami war
complex. In R. Ferguson and N. Whitehead (eds.) War in the Tribal Zone:
expanding states and indigenous warfare. 199-228. Santa Fe: SAR Press.
(chapter 9)
Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. (Chapter 2: A
Street History of El Barrio Pgs. 48-76)
Further Readings:
High, C. (2009) Victims and Martyrs: converging histories of violence in Amazonian
anthropology and U.S. cinema. Anthropology and Humanism 34(1): 41-50.
Taussig, M. (2004) Culture of Terror Space of Death: Roger Casemants Putumayo
Report and the explanation of torture. In Violence in War and Peace. (chapter 2)
Conrad, J. (2004) From Heart of Darkness. In Violence in War and Peace. (chapter 1)
Gordon, R. (2004) The Bushman Myth: the making of a Namibian underclass. In
Violence in War and Peace. (chapter 6)

Further Readings continued:

Whitehead, N. (1999) Tribes Make States and States Makes Tribes: warfare and the
creation of colonial tribes and states in Northeast South America. In R. Ferguson
and N. Whitehead (eds.) War in the Tribal Zone: expanding states and indigenous
warfare. Pgs 127-150. Santa Fe: SAR Press.
Said, E. (1978) Orientalism: Western representations of the Orient. London: Routledge
and Keegan Paul.
Taussig, M. (1987) Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: a study in terror and
healing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
WEEK 4: Remembering Violence
In recent years social scientists have become increasingly interested in how people remember
(and forget) past violence. Anthropologists tend to view memory not just as the excavation of
accurate representations of the past or individual experiences of trauma, but also forms of
remembering that are profoundly social. This week we will look at the politics and poetics of
memory through ethnographic examples of how people relate to past violence in diverse ways.
How do people of different generations and genders remember the past differently? What
kinds of social memory are constituted through trauma like initiation rituals or the Holocaust?
Essential Readings:
Lambek, M. (1996) The Past Imperfect: remembering as moral practice. In Tense Past:
cultural essays in Trauma and Memory. Pgs. 235-253. New York: Routledge.
High, C. (2009) Remembering the Auca: violence and generational memory in
Amazonian Ecuador. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15(4): Pgs.
Argenti, N. and K. Schramm (2009) Introduction: remembering violence. In
Remembering Violence: anthropological perspectives on intergenerational
transmission. Oxford: Berghahn.
Further Readings:
Lambek, M. and P. Antze (1996) Introduction: Forecasting Memory. In Tense Past:
cultural essays in Trauma and Memory. New York: Routledge.
Bloch, M. (1998) Time, Narratives and the Multiplicity of Representations of the Past. In
How We Think They Think: anthropological approaches to cognition, memory
and literacy. Pgs. 100-114. Oxford: Westview Press.
Berliner, D. (2009) Memories of Initiation Violence: remembered pain and religious
transmission among the Bulongic (Guinea, Conakry). In Remembering Violence:
anthropological perspectives on intergenerational transmission. Berghahn.
Whitehouse, H. (1996) Rites of Terror: emotion, metaphor and memory in Melanesian
initiation cults. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 2, No. 4,
pp. 703-715.
Zucker, E. (2013) Forest of Struggle: Moralities remembrance in Upland Cambodia.
University of Hawaii Press.
Cole, J. (2001) Forget Colonialism? Sacrifice and the art of memory in Madagascar.
Berkeley: University of California Press.
Nora, P. (1989) Between Memory and history: les lieux de memoire. Representations 26:
Connerton, P. (1989) How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

WEEK 5: The Violence of Everyday Life

Most people would describe killing and other direct use of physical force to do harm as
violence. But what about the conditions of poverty and everyday suffering with which many
people in the world live? This week we will look at how poverty, oppression and other
inequalities may constitute a form of violence in everyday life. How do poverty and other
structural violence encourage violent practices? As anthropologists, how can we identify the
links between specific acts of violence and wider social, economic and political processes?
Essential readings:
Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. (chapters 3-5)
Kleinman, A. The Violence of Everyday Life: the multiple forms and dynamics of
social violence. In V. Das, A. Kleinman, M. Ramphele and P. Reynolds (eds.)
Violence and Subjectivity. Berkeley: University of California Press. (pp. 226-241)
Farmer, P. (2004) On Suffering and Structural Violence: a view from below. In A.
Kleinman, V. Das and M. Lock (eds.) Social Suffering. Berkeley: University of
California Press. 261-283.
Further Readings:
Maek, I. (2007) Imitation of Life: negotiating normality in Sarajevo under siege. In X.
Bougarel, E. Helms and G. Duijzings, (eds.) The New Bosnian Mosaic: Identities, memories
and moral claims in a post-war society (pp. 39-57).
Scheper-Hughes, N. (1985) Culture, Scarcity and Maternal Thinking: detachment and
infant survival in a Brazilian shantytown. Ethos 13(4) pp. 291-317.
Orwell, G. (2004) The Lower Classes Smell, from The Road to Wigan Pier. In
Violence in War and Peace. (chapter 36)
Wacquant, L. (2004) The New Peculiar Institution: on the prison as a surrogate
ghetto. In Violence in War and Peace.(chapter 39)
Farmer, P. (2005) Pathologies of Power: health, human rights, and the new war on the
poor. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Farmer, P. (2004) An Anthropology of Structural Violence. Current Anthropology 45(3):
Scheper-Hughes, N (1992) Death Without Weeping: the violence of everyday life in
Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.
WEEK 6: Gender and Violence
Women are often the specific target of violence in everyday life and in times of war. This week
we will look at gendered violence in a number of different social contexts, from the streets of
New York City to domestic life in the Andes. To what extent should we impose our own
assumptions about justice and acceptable gender relations when we study other cultures?
What can specific cultural constructions of masculinity tell us about the gendered forms
violence often takes?
Essential Readings:
Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. (chapters 6-9)
Abu-Lughod, L. (2002) Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? anthropological
reflections on cultural relativism and its others. American Anthropologist.
104(3) 783-790.
Harris, O. (1994) Condor and the Bull: the ambiguities of masculinity in Northern Potosi.
In P. Harvey and P. Gow (eds.) Sex and Violence. Pgs. 40-65. New York:

Further Readings:
High, C. (2010) Warriors, Hunters, and Bruce Lee: gendered agency and the
transformation of Amazonian masculinity. American Ethnologist 37(3): 753-770.
Harvey, P. (1994) Domestic Violence in the Peruvian Andes. In P. Harvey and P. Gow
(eds.) Sex and Violence. Pgs. 66-89. New York: Routledge.
Merry, S. (2009) Gender Violence: a cultural perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Danner, M. (2004) From The Massacre at El Mozote: a parable of the Cold War. In
Violence in War and Peace. (chapter 41)
Bourdieu, P. (2004) Gender and Symbolic Violence. In Violence in War and Peace.
(chapter 42)
Coleman, L. (2007) The Gendered Violence of Development: imaginative geographies of
exclusion in the imposition of Neo-liberal capitalism. The British Journal of
Politics and International Relations Vol 9: 204-219.
Overing, J. (1989) Styles of Manhood: an Amazonian contrast in tranquillity and
violence. In S. Howell and R. Willis (eds.) Societies at Peace: anthropological
perspectives. 79-99. (chapter 4)
Dobash, R. and R. Dobash (1992) Violence, Women and Social Change. New York:
Archetti, E. (2007) Masculinity, Primitivism, and Power: Gaucho, Tango, and the
shaping of Argentine national identity. In W. French and K. Bliss (eds.) Gender,
Sexuality, and Power in Latin America since Independence. Pgs. 212-229.
Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield.
WEEK 7: The Body
Whether as a source of pain, nationalist sentiment or cultural identity, the body is central to
understanding the social meanings of violence. This week we will explore historically and
ethnographically how the practice of violence is often closely related to body symbolism and
embodied experience. We will examine cases in which bodies become expressions of
domination, control, contestation, ambiguity and terror. Why is the female body so often a site
of symbolic violence and nationalist imagination? In what ways does the treatment of bodies
reveal structural violence?
Essential Readings:
Foucault, M. (1995) The Body of the Condemned. In Discipline and Punish: the birth of
the prison. New York: Vantage. (chapter 1, part 1)
Das, V. (2004) Language and Body: transactions in the construction of pain. In A.
Kleinman, V. Das and M. Lock (eds.) Social Suffering. Pgs. 67-92. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Further Readings:
Wacquant, L. (2004) Body and Soul: notebooks of an apprentice boxer. (The Street and
the Ring pgs. 13-150) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ramphele, M. (1997) Political Widowhood in South Africa: the embodiment of
ambiguity. In A. Kleinman, V. Das and M. Lock (eds.) Social Suffering. Pgs. 99118. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Dembour, M. (2001) Following the Movement of the Pendulum: between universalism
and relativism. In J. Cowan, M. Dembour and R. Wilson (eds.) Culture and
Rights: Anthropological Perspectives. Pgs. 56-79. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Feldman, A. (1994) Formations of Violence: the narrative of the body and political
terror in Northern Ireland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Henry, D. (2006) Violence and the Body: somatic expressions of trauma and
vulnerability during war. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 20(3): 379-398.
Scheper-Hughes (1996) Theft of Life: the globalization of organ stealing rumours.
Anthropology Today 12(3): 3-11.


WEEK 8: Cosmology and the Poetics of Violence

While many anthropologists point out the political and economic conditions that cause violent
conflicts, others look to the particular ideologies that order different societies in attempting to
explain violence. This week we will explore how culturally contingent ideas about life, death,
and the body have influenced the ways in which violent practices are carried out in the context
of genocide in Rwanda, initiation rituals and revenge-killing in South America. What do such
practices mean to the victims, perpetrators and witnesses of violence?
Essential readings:
Taylor, C. (1999) The Cosmology of Terror. In Sacrifice as Terror: the Rwandan
genocide of 1994. (Chapter 4: 151-180).
Hinton, A. (2005) In the Shadow of Genocide. In Why did they Kill?: Cambodia in the
shadow of genocide. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Whitehead, N. (2004) On the Poetics of Violence. In N. Whitehead (ed.) Violence. Pgs.
55-78. Santa Fe: SAR Press.
Further readings:
George, K. (2004) Violence, Culture, and the Indonesian Public Sphere: reworking the
Geertzian legacy. In N. Whitehead (ed.) Violence. Pgs. 25-50. Santa Fe: SAR
Graeber, D. (2006) Beyond Power/Knowledge: an exploration of the relation of power,
ignorance and stupidity. Annual Malinowski Lecture, London School of
Bloch, M. (1992) Prey Into Hunter: the politics of religious experience. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. (chapter 2- Initiation)
Strathern, A. and P. Stewart (2006) Terror, the Imagination, and Cosmology. In A.
Strathern, P. Stewart and N. Whitehead (eds.) Terror & Violence. Pgs. 1-39.
London: Pluto Press.
Taylor, A.C. (1993) Remembering to Forget: identity, mourning and memory among the
Jvaro. Man, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 28: 653-78.
Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. (1992) The Anti-Narcissus. In From the Enemys Point of
View: Humanity and divinity in an Amazonian society. Chicago and London:
University of Chicago Press. (chapter 10)
WEEK 9: Interventions of the State: the war on terror
While the responsibility of protecting human rights rests centrally in the hands of modern
nation-states, it is often these same states that carry out some of the most severe and
widespread acts of violence. From Nazi Germany to American imperialism we can see that
nation-states have a major role in violent conflicts around the world. This week we will explore
how war, torture and other forms of violence result from the suspension of rights within state
regimes. We will look at how this process has played out in the war on terror in the United
States and elsewhere. In what ways do modern states promote or legitimize violence?
Essential Readings:
Lutz, C. (2002) Making War at Home in the United States: militarization and the current
crisis. American Anthropologist 104(3): 723-735.
Mamdani, M. (2002) Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: a political perspective on culture and
terrorism. American Anthropologist 104(3): 766-775.
Munster, R. (2004) The War on Terrorism: When the Exception Becomes the Rule.
International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 17(2): 141-53.


Further Readings:
Enns, D. (2004) Bare Life and the Occupied Body. Theory & Event 7(3).
Neal, A. (2006) Foucault in Guantnamo: Towards an Archaeology of the Exception.
Security Dialogue 37(1): 31-46.
Humphreys, S. (2006) Legalizing Lawlessness: On Giorgio Agambens State of
Exception. European Journal of International Law 17(3): 677-87.
Agamben, G. (2005) State of Exception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kelly, T. and A. Shah (2006) The Double-edged Sword: protection and state violence.
Critique of Anthropology 26(3): 251-257.
Feuchtwang, S. (2006) Images of Sub-humanity and their realization. Critique of
Anthropology 26(3): 259-278.
Sluka, J. (2000) Death Squad: the anthropology of state terror. Philadelphia, PA:
University of Pennsylvania Press.
Taussig, M. (1989) Terror as Usual: Walter Benjamins theory of history as a state of
siege. Social Text 23: 3-20.
Feldman A. (2004) On Cultural Anesthesia: from Desert Storm to Rodney King.
American Ethnologist 21(2): 404-418.
WEEK 10: Peace and Reconciliation
Why do we find more violence in some societies than in others? Can we really talk about
cultures of violence or peaceful societies? This week we will look at ethnographic case
studies of societies in which violence and aggressive behaviour are, according to the
ethnographers, completely unacceptable and seldom observed. We will look critically at these
representations of society as well as examine how peace is made in the aftermath of violent
conflict. What are some of the key challenges to reconciliation?
Essential readings:
Sponsel, L. (1996) The Natural History of peace: a positive view of human nature and its
potential. In T, Gregor (ed.) A Natural History of Peace. Pgs. 95-116. Vanderbilt
University Press.
Allen, T. (2007) The International Criminal Court and the Invention of Traditional Justice
in northern Uganda. Politique Africaine 107: 147-166.
Nordstrom, C. (2004) Shadows of War: violence, power, and international profiteering in
the twenty-first century. (Part 4: Peace? Pgs. 141-202). Berkeley: University of
California Press.
Further Readings:
Sponsel, L. (1994) The Mutual Relevance of Anthropology and Peace Studies. In The
Anthropology of Peace and Non-Violence. Boulder: Cynne Rienner. (Chapter 1)
Robarchek, C. and C. Robarchek (1998) Reciprocities and Realities: world views,
peacefulness, and violence among Semai and Waorani. Aggressive Behavior 24:
Briggs, J. (2000) Conflict Management in a Modern Inuit Community. In P. Schweitzer,
M. Biesele, and R. Hitchcock (eds.) Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World:
conflict, resistance, and self-determination. New York: Berghahn.
Howell S. (1989) To be angry is not to be human, but to be fearful is: Chewong
concepts of human nature of Howell, S. and R. Willis (eds.) Societies at Peace:
anthropological perspectives. London: Routledge. (chapter 2)
Campbell, A. (1989) Peace. In S. Howell & R. Willis (eds.) Societies at Peace:
anthropological perspectives. 213-224. (chapter 11)
Evans Pim, J. (2010) Nonkilling Societies. Honolulu, HI: Center for Global Nonkilling.