Discourse and equality

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at corn.cso.niu.edu
Tue Nov 19 16:36:54 UTC 2002

Just a few words before I leave for the airport on my way to the AAA
meetings. I've cut out most of the message I'm responding to to save

Celso Alvarez Cáccamo wrote:

  <<message from Ron Kephart deleted>>

> Ron, thanks for all that information. But you're not being fair ;-): I
> wasn't grouping all hominoids or non-human primates together. Sure, each
> species has its own form of social organization, but, are there substantial
> *intra-species*, cultural differences among groups in terms of basic types
> of social organization? (I don't believe there are).  That is (excuse my
> plainness), are there "anarchist" bonobo groups versus clearly hierarchical
> ones?  Even more clearly, can a specific bonobo group modify the basic
> principles of its organization over time -- from "anarchist" to
> "tyrannical" or viceversa?

As a matter of fact, baboons do.

Irv DeVore, looking back at his films on baboon behavior, commented "if
there were only one thing I could change, I'd go back and be much more
specific about which baboons in what ecological setting. Instead of
"baboons are" and "baboons do", I should have said "troop-living baboons I
observed in the Serengeti are ..., and they do ... ." Take, for example, my
strong statement that "the lone baboon is a dead baboon".  That's true --
in the specific setting I observed.  But we now have studies that
demonstrate other forms of baboon social organization, where some baboons
leave their original troop, live alone until coming into the territory of
another troop, and then establish themselves into the hierarchy of that new
troop. The major difference is that those troop-changing baboons live in an
area where there is somewhat less pressure from predators -- but it's not
ZERO pressure, either."

I'm sure Irv must have said that in print somewhere, but what I'm reporting
is a long-ago conversation with him. We were classmates, and cluing each
other in on where we'd gone anthropologically since the last time we'd had
a chance to talk.

--  mike salovesh     <m-salovesh-9 at alumni.uchicago.edu>     PEACE !!!

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