Volltext: Zeitschrift für Ethnologie der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde und der Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte, 115.1990

    
Fraternal interest groups and violent 
conflict management 
A social-structural hypothesis 
Ruth Göhlen 
Institut für Vôlkerkunde, Albertus-Magnus-Platz 5, D-5000 Köln 41, Deutschland 
Abstract. How are social organisation and violent conflict between groups related? One of the key concepts 
Investigated here is that of so called “fraternal interest groups”. They are supposed to be responsible for fre- 
quent violent conflict management. The components and operationalization of the hypothesis are investi- 
gated in order to show its power and its weaknesses and to find a more adequate operationalization of the 
Component variables for statistical cross-cultural testing. 
Introduction 
Starting point of my investigation is how social organisation and war are related. 
I will begin by briefly discussing the main hypotheses connecting aspects of social 
Organisation and violent conflict. Then I will discuss the classical attempts to oper- 
ationalize the hypotheses. One of the hypotheses will be looked at in more detail. 
Review of key concepts of the socio-structural domain 
for explanation of violent conflict management 
À review of cross-cultural studies shows that so far two forms of social organisation 
have been investigated with respect to conflict management: 
l. fraternal interest groups and 
2. cross-cutting ties, resp. conflicting loyalties. 
The basic idea in both cases is, that in order to wage war men have to form groups 
that act in concert and that social organisation can either be conducive to the formation 
9f such groups or inhibit it. 
The cross-cutting ties or conflicting loyalties operate in an inhibiting way. If there 
Aft cross-cutting ties or conflicting loyalties, men hardly can form a discrete group to act 
IN concert in case of conflict, because they have strong ties or loyalties to men belong- 
0g to different groups. If conflicts arise, the conflicting parties contain men that are 
goposcd to fighting each other and in this way have an interest in peaceful resolution of 
€ conflict. 
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 115 (1990) 45-55 © 1992 Dietrich Reimer Verlag 
  
  
   
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