Re: Intro/'Primitive War'
Matthew Ervin (mervin@SUN.CIS.SMU.EDU)
Tue, 4 Oct 1994 11:12:34 -0500
On Tue, 4 Oct 1994, Warren Sproule wrote:
> As a new member of this list I thought I'd forego my usual practice of
> lurking and jump straight in - if the following has been broached before,
> put it down to my virginal status! I'm a sociologist currently employed at
> the University of Tasmania at Hobart, and am working on a large research
> project linking textuality and war. This relates to anthropology in a
> variety of ways: In terms of the first part of this equation,I'm especially
> interested in [i] the literacy/orality divide and notions of writing as a
> "technology of the intellect" in the work of, eg, Goody or Finnegan;[ii]
> writing as exploitative, as in the 25th chapter of 'Tristes Tropiques'; and
> [iii] the politics of cartography and ethnography, as expounded by, eg,
> Margaret Hodgen, James Boon, or Clifford & Marcus.
> As to the second element of this interest, I'm trying to sort my way
> through the vexed question of "primitive war" - ie, does such a category
> *exist*? - via an assortment of pro and con sources (Malinowski, Harrison,
> Mead, Schneider, Harris, Pasquinelli, Clastres, Otterbein, etc.). My
> initial take on these issues would claim that
> (a) the prescence or absence of writing *is* a valid demarcation b/w
> 'types' of societies;
> (b) there is no such thing as "primitive warfare"; and
> (c) a prime reason for (b) is (a).
> I'm expressing this crudely because it seems to me that both these aspects
> are pretty hoary old anthropological chestnuts, but that neither have been
> cracked and they're as contentious as ever. I'm more than willing to be
> disabused of either or all of the above notions: Anyone out there care to
> pick up and run with this thread?
> Warren Sproule.
FOR POLITICS AND THE CARTOGRAPHY OF ETHNOGRAPHY AND OTHER WAR INSIGHTS
READ *EAST AND WEST* BY C. NORTHCOTE-PARKINSON---IT'S AN INTERESTING THEORY.
M. ERVIN (SMU)