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

    
Child training practices and violent 
conflict management 
Ursula Wagner 
Institut für Völkerkunde, Universität zu Kóln, Albertus-Magnus-Platz 5, D-5000 Kóln 41, Deutschland 
Abstract. This paper discusses the findings of statistical tests of four hypotheses that link socialization pat- 
terns and violent or peaceful conflict management respectively. The sample was drawn from the Standard 
Cross-Cultural Sample. The results provide strong support for the hypotheses that the lack of warmth and 
affection, frequent corporal punishment, and strong inculcation of aggression during late boyhood increase 
the likelihood of warfare and that the emphasis on cooperative behavior — i. e. inculcation of trust, honesty, 
and generosity — serve to make a society essentially peaceful. 
The focus in this paper is on the following question: What are the relationship, if any, 
between child training practices and violent conflict management? 
The cross-cultural investigations of socialization patterns and violent conflict by 
Russell (1972), Eckhardt (1975), Prescott (1975), Ember and Ember (1984, 1986), and 
Ross (1986) have presented different psychological explanations of warfare. I tested 
these hypotheses by methods of statistics for the societies of the Standard Cross-Cul- 
tural Sample. My aim was to discover single child training practices that predict higher 
frequencies of warfare. Here I want to present the main results from my correlation 
analysis. 
Three theories have proved to be relevant to the explanation of war or peace re- 
spectively. 
The first theory holds that: Children learn to be aggressive and violent, this causes 
them as adults to be more aggressive engaging in war more readily. 
The second theory predicts that a lack of warmth and affection towards children is 
associated with hostile and aggressive reactions, which also determine adult behavior. 
The third theory holds that: The emphasis on cooperative behavior serves to make 
a society essentially peaceful. 
Turning now to the first theory the question is: How do children learn to be 
aggressive and violent? Here basically two different explanations have been put 
forward: 
Social learning theorists have demonstrated that children aquire hostile modes of 
behavior merely by observing and imitating aggressive actions of adults. The children 
Supposedly adopt the attributes of an aggressive, punishing socialization agent by 
transforming themselves from the victim to the agent of aggression. 
An alternative explanation holds that aggressiveness is a trait which is inculcated in 
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 115 (1990) 67-72 © 1992 Dietrich Reimer Verlag 
  
  
        

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