Essay: Outline and Evalaute evolutionary explanations of group displaysof Aggresion iWatch
Hi please could somebody possibly give me a mark for this essay and what it would get out of a possible 24marks thank you.
Discuss explanations of group displays of aggression e.g sports AndWarfare.
Oneevolutionary explanation of group displays of aggression believes that humansdisplay aggression in groups in order to gain access to resources; likelyresources gained through group displays of aggression include land, women andmoney.The acquisition of theseresources is important for the survival of a group and to ensure the continuedexistence of future generations in terms of reproduction. Furthermore thisexplanation also argues that group displays of aggression towards potentialthreats are one of the best ways in which to secure the resources which aremuch desired by groups. In sport, these aggressive displays are due toxenophobia (fear of strangers). Wilson (1975) claims xenophobia has been shownin virtually every group of animals. Therefore this outlines evolutionaryexplanations of group displays of aggression. Additionally, Shaw & Wong(1989) argue that the mechanism that promotes suspicion towards strangers wouldhave been favoured by natural selection. These group displays in humans due toxenophobia have been shown on the terraces in football matches. For example,Podaliri & Balestri (1998) found xenophobic behaviour when analysingfootball matches in Italy. In the 1980’s xenophobic political organizationssuch as Northern League led to the growth of extreme right wing movementscharacterised by racist chants and anti-Semitic banners. Therefore Xenophobiais a group display of aggression that has evolved to help protect themselvesfrom strangers and therefore enable them to also protect their offspring.Therefore this outlines group displays of aggression.
One strength of the Evolutionaryexplanation of group displays in humans is that there is empirical support forxenophobia displays.Foldesi supportsxenophobic experiment of group displays as he conducted research into 40football matches which occurred between both Club sides and National sides. Theresearcher found that there were a greater number of violent incidents andaggressive behaviours reported when National side matches were played.Therefore this outlines group displays of aggression. However the evolutionaryexplanation would argue that this behaviour is a direct result of thexenophobia experienced by coming into contact with the opposing team. This wasseen more when the opposing team involved Gypsy, Jewish or Russian individualsand may have been because contact with Gypsy, Jewish and/or Russian members ofsociety occurs less often in the lives of the football supporters, thisproducing a perceived threat to their survival which would not otherwise occur.Therefor this outlines and evaluates group displays of aggression. This suggests that xenophobic displays happen because of an evolved needto protect ourselves from strangers who may pose a threat to us. This wasevolved to protect offspring but is now used to protect ourselves from theopposite teams fans.As a result, thisgives the evolutionary explanation of group displays of aggression widerapplicability due to the real-life examples of xenophobia causing violentdisplays.
Determinism is akey criticism of the evolutionary explanation of group displays of aggressionas it takes the view that humans have evolved to behave in aggressive ways andthat this will be seen in all groups; it assumes human group displays ofaggression are determined by our need to survive, gain resources andreproduce.Underestimating the role offree-will in aggressive behaviour and taking the viewpoint that aggressivebehaviour is necessary could be considered irresponsible as evolutionaryexplanations potentially exonerate anyone who considers it acceptable to behavein an aggressive manner in a group. Alternatively another weakness of the evolutionary explanationof group displays in humans is that it can be considered reductionist. This isbecause it reduces the complex nature of the cause of group displays ofaggression down to simply an evolved need to protect ourselves. Although thismakes the explanation simple to understand andstudy, it nevertheless, ignores key factors thatcould cause group displays of aggression within humans. For example, theevolutionary explanation doesn’t consider how individuals may imitate theirsame sex role models as argued by Social Learning Theory because they arevicariously rewarded for actingaggressively. Consequently, this means that the evolutionaryexplanation of group displays in humans is arguably flawed because it does notoffer a full account. Instead, a more holistic view should be considered thatencompasses a wider field of explanations.
Territorialityis another way in which an evolutionary explanation can explain group displaysof aggression. This is the protective response to the invasions of one’s territory.This form of group display is shown in many sports, for example Samoa used theManu Siva Tau war chant before the 1991 Rugby World Cup. These displaysintimidate the other team and make the home team more aggressive. Thesedisplays would have been adopted from ancestors because they had to defendvaluable resources like their territory. This has also been linked to having highertestosterone levels, for example, Neave & Wolfson (2003) found thatfootball teams playing at home were far more likely to win than the visitingteam, partly because they have the benefit of a huge surge of testosteronebefore the match. This could be due to the evolved drive to defend hometerritory, leading to more aggressive group displays.
However,territory as an explanation of group displays is reductionist to Support for the evolutionary explanation ofgroup displays of aggression as it can also be seen in studies which havelooked at warfare.Chignon’s (1975) conducted a longitudinal study of the Yanomamotribe who have a long history of war with other tribes.He found that the married male members of thetribe were far more likely to have been to war and have killed members of theopposing tribe, suggesting that group displaysof aggression are perceived as an attractive behaviour in a mate. Throughstudying the tribe, he discovered that war had many benefits such as theacquisition of land and of women who could then be used to expand the membersof the existing tribe. Therefore this outlines group displays of aggression. Chignon’sfindings could be explained by the evolutionary explanation as beneficial interms of the survival and reproduction of its members.Males who survived war were considered moreattractive by women and were more likely to be able to reproduce with womenfrom both their tribe and the recently conquered tribe.The winning tribe would also have access toadditional land in which to expand, allowing the members to use its resourcesin order to support and provide for additional generations. Therefore proving groupdisplays of aggression.
Despitemuch supporting evidence, research into the evolutionary explanation of groupdisplay should not be considered conclusive as there is much research whichquestions the validity of the explanation. After studying incidences of group aggressionin sporting events, Marsh claimed that aggression could be viewed as analternative career structure for working class males. Aggression displayed bysuch males is arguably therefore not based on xenophobia but is instead a formof ritualised aggression which serves little evolutionary purpose in terms ofreproduction and survival, other than as a potential career pathway. Thereforethis outlines and evaluates group displays of aggression.
The fact that groupdisplays of aggression do not occur in all groups (e.g. religious groups), reducesthe overall validity of the explanation.This explanation could be considered ethnocentric as group explanations of human aggression focus onWestern industrialised views of aggression and may not account for cultural differencesin collectivist countries. Therefore Another explanation of group displays of aggressionis Reproduction in warfare. The evolutionary trait to reproduce occurs duringtimes of war. This theory suggests that when men are in mortal danger, theyhave the evolutionary desire to reproduce via the aggressive act of rape.Furthermore Thornhill et al suggest that war rape is universal and happens inevery war. Therefore a group display due to being universal . Similarly this issupported by Bullock who looked at USA soldiers during the Vietnam war andfound out that they showed the evolutionary trait of reproducing via theaggressive act of raping Vietnamese women. Therefore this supports theevolutionary approach as the soldiers in times of mortal danger displayed groupaggression. Finally evidence for evolutionary explanations of group displays ofaggression, has cultural bias as many studies are based on individualisticcultures, so we cannot generalise to collectivist cultures to explainaggression. Therefore this evaluates group displays of aggression. A weakness for evolutionary explanations of group displays is that theydisplay gender bias. This is because evolutionary explanations of groupdisplays in warfare do not adequately reflect the behavior of women in theprocess. For example, Adams (1983) claimed that the idea of women warriors isalmost unheard of within most societies. Even in these societies that allowwomen to participate in war, they are always the rare exception. This isbecause women would have less to gain from fighting in near-death situationsand more to lose (in terms of loss of their reproductive capacity). Thereforeour understanding of the group displays typically found in warfare aresubjected to beta bias because they are limited to the behavior of males ratherthan females, thus minimizing the differences between the two sexes. In turn, the evolutionary explanation does notoffer a full account of warfare in group displays, rendering it inadequate;weakening its explanatory power and credibility overall.