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 0 Î