Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week 6 Blog Post: Politics & Violence

1- The differences are that Yanomamo culture has an uncentralized political system, and more important is Yanomamo have no written language. An uncentralized political system does not have a judicial system which can determinate what is wrong and what is right. Secondly, Yanomamo have no written system, so it does not have like a constitution or Ten Commandments that can help to control the behavior of the people, so everyone has his/her own ideas about murder. Western culture has written system, and we still killing each other, but I think many people have not kill someone else because they are scare to go to jail or hell. On other hand Western cultures have centralized political system call “state”.  Every state has a constitution which determines what the consequences of killing a person are, and in a few cases it justify the murder. A judicial system takes care to determinate if a person is innocent or guilty.

2-In Yanomamo culture men become aggressive and start to fight against each other to the point of commit murder because of a woman: “: infidelity and suspicion of infidelity, attempts to seduce another man's wife, sexual jealousy, forcible appropriation of women from visiting groups, failure to give a promised girl in marriage, and (rarely) rape”. Also, other factors would be that a man is trying to avenge the death of someone related to him or in a fight against another tribe. The confrontations among men are with shouting matches, chest pounding duels, fights with axes and machetes.

3-In Yanomamo culture unokais are the ones who have killed some else, and the becoming one of them brings high social status with good benefits. Unokais are very respect and feared by other because they are willing to kill, so other people will ovoid to have problems with him and his clan. Another benefit of become a unokai is that he can get easily a mate because many woman find attractive that a man has such status, or he forcibly took a woman. On other hand, there are non-unokais who are the men who has not killed someone else. They are call cowards, but they have the advantage of lower risk of mortality, and they have few enemies.


Political structure: when a man kills someone else in a revenge killing, he will become a unokai, so will be part of a higher class, and his voice will be listen by others (he will become a kind of leader)

Social Status/Social Organization: when one become a unokai, it will bring to him a high social status and people will respect him, and he will be more attractive to woman.

Kinship: the family of the unokai will get some kind of protection because people know that the unokai is willing to kill to avenge his family. people will be scare to have comflicts to the unokai's family

Marriage & Reproduction: An unokai have access to more women because they find him or he could have forcibly taken another man's consequently he will have a higher rate of reproduction than  non-unokai.

5-Most people strongly agree that murder is a wrong action, but we need to create laws to scare the ones who are planning to take someone life. There are situations when a person is full of hate, anger and rage against another person, and he/she do not think clearly, so the person may think that killing his/her enemy will end the problem. If we have punishments for murder, less people will think in murder as a solution for problems. The Yanomamo culture murder is present when men are full of jealousy and anger, so in that moment they do not realize the value of human life and they kill


  1. I like and agree with the point you made that most people do not think rationally when they become angered or upset. I disagree however that because there are laws in place "less people will think to murder as a solution for problems." Some people do think like that, but I think the reason most people do not think to murder as an option is because of the consequences. They do not want their life ended by going to prison for life or being given the death sentence. For other people, they do not consciously think about how murder is an option. How I see it is that our culture does not even present murder as an option. We socialization to see that murder is wrong and most people do not even seriously consider murder for any problem. I also agree about your view of the Yanomamo culture, but I think that the men do not necessarily commit murder because they are full of jealousy and anger or that their emotions are not the full reason. They place culture value on killing because of certain reason. I think this affects their personalities to be aggressive and angry. Therefore, since they are angry and irrational, they kill in the moment and place no value on human life.

  2. You place an interesting amount of emphasis on the written word, and particularly upon constitutions. Keep in mind that constitutions are very recent inventions, in just the past few hundred years. You can also write down whatever you want, but that doesn't mean it will have any impact on controlling human behavior. There are multiple cultures globally that don't have systems of written languages (the "Bushman" come to mind) but they have very clear systems of accepted behaviors, so I'm not sure written language is key here. What is key is the assumption on your part that they are not following a system of cultural rules regarding violence. I would suggest that they are following their own rules. They just don't look like our set of rules.

    Good description, just keep in mind that there is a cyclical nature to this. A revenge killing may result in a further revenge killing in retaliation.

    Great comparison between unokais and non-unokais roles.

    Yes, people kill on impulse, but not always. What are the reasons for killing someone else in our culture? Do they differ significantly from the reasons why the Yanomamo kill? Perhaps the assumption that there is no reason for people to want to kill someone else isn't a safe assumption in the first place, which is why we need laws to protect us?

  3. I think that the principal that killing someone else in our culture are jealous, money and love. Probably the Yanomamo kill for the same reasons. I think our society has became very complex, selfish and materialistic that we need to create more and more law to protect us and determinate what is wrong and right.