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Relatives argue, neighbors quarrel, and strangers fight. Their disputes can lead to a shouting match, to a scuffle, to the use of sorcery, or to avoidance. But even minor grievances may escalate into violent combat. Jalé methods for resolving conflicts or for waging war appear exotic to a Western observer. However, this study shows that the problem of settling disputes by peaceful means is no different for villages without a common government than for sovereign nations. In this fascinating book Klaus Friedrich Koch discusses how anthropologists view conflict, using procedures of conflict management in Jalé society as a model.
Sketching the Jalé way of life in a remote valley of New Guinea, the author is mainly concerned with their methods and ideology of conflict management. He presents many cases from the village of Pasikni and writes entertainingly of his fieldwork situation and experiences with the villagers.
Koch explains why the Jalé fail to settle disputes by negotiation or mediation, and why they resort to warfare in managing their conflicts. The theoretical implications of Koch’s conclusions will find wide applicability in the growing field of legal anthropology and in comparative social psychology. Photographs by the author portray the Jalé at peace and at war.