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Open Access Coconuts and the emergence of violence in Sulu: Beyond resource competition paradigms

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Coconuts and the emergence of violence in Sulu: Beyond resource competition paradigms

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Agricultural differentiation can lead to cultural differentiation. Among the Sulu Archipelago’s Tausug in south Philippines, increased coconut production has resulted in more violence and banditry among individuals and communities than among other Tausug populations engaged in other economic activities. Although resource competition in social theory has been used to explicate the connections between agriculture and violence (Vayda, Rappaport, Homer-Dixon, Stinchcombe, Peluso, Watts), this is not the case in Sulu. Coconut production influences violence through its low labour requirement which allows the intensification of culturally valued male violence (rites of passage, feuding); the low level of skills entailed in its cultivation and harvesting which limits the roles men can play in Tausug society; and the lack of ‘nurturing’ (as an activity) inherent in its cultivation.

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