Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Napoleon Chagnon

  • Madeline Streilein
  • Jessie Fly
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_925-1

Synonyms

Main Text

Bodies donned in black pelts and beaded necklaces swarm in a hostile crowd. Shrill invectives are hurled across a dirt courtyard encircled by thatched longhouses. The tension between groupings around this courtyard heightens, weapons are brandished, and violence ensues, one man striking another on the head with the blunt side of an ax. This is the opening scene of “The Ax Fight,” one of the best-known works of anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, then a graduate student at the University of Michigan. By initially providing no interpretation, Chagnon intended to create for the viewer the experience of observational naïveté upon watching the behaviors of an unfamiliar group of people, much as a naturalist might watch a pride of lions. This unfamiliar group was the Yanomami, an Amazonian indigenous group living on the border of Venezuela and Brazil. Chagnon researched the Yanomami from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s and was both...

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References

  1. Albert, B. (1990). On Yanomami warfare: rejoinder. Current Anthropology, 31, 558–563. http://www.academia.edu/4144988/_On_yanomami_warfare_rejoinder_Current_Anthropology_1990_31_5_p._558-563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ferguson, R. B. (1995). Explaining Yanomami warfare: Alternatives and implications. In R. B. Ferguson (Ed.), Yanomami Warfare: A political history (pp. 347–371). Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research.Google Scholar
  3. Iannone, C. (2013). Darkness in anthropology: A conversation with Napoleon Chagnon. Academic Questions, 26, 256–259.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12129-013-9378-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Macfarlan, S. J., Walker, R. S., Flinn, M. V., & Chagnon, N. A. (2014). Lethal coalitionary aggression and long-term alliance formation among Yanomamö men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 16662–16669.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1418639111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sahlins, M. (2000, December 10). Jungle fever. Washington Post.. Retrieved from http://anthroniche.com/darkness_documents/0246.htm.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eckerd CollegeSaint PetersburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lauren Highfill
    • 1
  1. 1.Eckerd CollegeSt. PetersburgUSA