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Peace ethology

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image of Behaviour

Three decades of systematic observations provided evidence that peacemaking, like aggression, is a natural aspect of primate social behaviour. Inspired by the work on non-human primates, researchers in the USA, Europe, and Japan set out to investigate peacemaking in young children, using the methods of observation developed for peacemaking research on non-human primates. The findings from these early child studies suggest that across cultures young children show peacemaking that is remarkably similar in form and timing as has been observed in non-human primates. In this paper I compare and contrast the main findings from the early child studies with some of the key findings of the non-human primate work. I present this comparative evidence of natural peace processes within the context of the ethology of peace. I propose an operational definition of peace and discuss the various themes within the processes of peace that can be investigated based on this proposed multilevel definition. I also present specific ideas for future research and collaboration with related disciplines. In conclusion I argue that peace ethology is uniquely positioned to make an important contribution toward our understanding of how proximate and ultimate factors combine to bring about and constrain peace.

Affiliations: 1: Miyazaki International College, 1405 Kano, Kiyotake-cho, Miyazaki 889-1605, Japan


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