Warlike and Peaceful Societies: The Interaction of Genes and Culture

Agner Fog

Forthcoming in 2017

Are humans violent or peaceful by nature? We are both.

In this ambitious and wide-ranging book, Agner Fog presents a ground-breaking new argument that explains the existence of differently organised societies using evolutionary theory. It combines natural sciences and social sciences in a way that is rarely seen.

According to a concept called regality theory, people show a preference for authoritarianism and strong leadership in times of war or collective danger, but desire egalitarian political systems in times of peace and safety. These individual impulses shape the way societies develop and organise themselves, and in Warlike and Peaceful Societies: The Interaction of Genes and Culture Agner argues that there is an evolutionary mechanism behind this flexible psychology. Incorporating a wide range of ideas including evolutionary theory, game theory, and ecological theory, Agner analyses the conditions that make us either strident or docile. He tests this theory on data from contemporary and ancient societies, and provides a detailed explanation of the applications of regality theory to issues of war and peace, the rise and fall of empires, the mass media, economic instability, ecological crisis, and much more.

This book draws on many different fields of both the social sciences and the natural sciences. It will be of interest to academics and students in these fields, including anthropology, political science, history, conflict and peace research, social psychology, and more, as well as the natural sciences, including human biology, human evolution, and ecology.



Warlike and Peaceful Societies: The Interaction of Genes and Culture
Agner Fog
ISBN Paperback: 9781783744039
ISBN Hardback: 9781783744046
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783744053
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783744060
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783744077
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0128


Dr. Agner Fog has taught at the Technical University of Denmark since 1995. For many years he has carried out interdisciplinary research combining the natural sciences and the social sciences in order to develop testable causal theories about social and cultural developments. Previous publications include Cultural Selection (1999) as well as a number of influential contributions to computer science.