Conflict Theory Essay

2398 WordsSep 6, 201210 Pages
CHAPTER 10 Conflict Theory A. Oberschall HUMAN NATURE AND WARFARE The psychologist Robert Hinde writes that (1997) “Certain behavioral propensities, including the capacity for aggression, are common to virtually all humans. This does not mean that they are genetically determined …humans have a capacity to be both aggressive and altruistic…the behavior shown depends on a host of developmental, experiential, social and circumstantial factors.” Although sociobiologists assume that genes exist for specific behavioral dispositions, like “self-sacrificial bravery in warfare” (Tiger and Fox 1971), no such genes have been identified, and behavior in warfare and group conflict situations has been explained in other terms. For example, Jews in Nazi Europe put up little resistance to the Holocaust. Were they genetically lacking in self-sacrificial bravery in warfare? The Jews who emigrated to Palestine belonged to the same gene pool, yet fought aggressively and successfully for the creation and defense of the state of Israel in 1946–1948 and in subsequent wars. Helen Fein (1979) has explained the lack of resistance during the Holocaust with a gradual entrapment model of the Jews by the Nazis. It started with the legal definition of Jew, followed by stigmatization, stripping of citizenship and property, segregation from nonJews, isolation in ghettos, and ending in labor and extermination camps. These differences in the behavior of Jews cannot be explained by sociobiology. Controversy on the biological versus cultural dimensions of human nature compares primate social organization and behavior with those of preliterate, low technology human communities (Rodseth et al. 1991). Compared to primate mating, humans have marriage and kinship. In human bands, there is a relative absence of male dominance and hierarchy, and more equality among adult males on

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