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Chapter 12 Raiding and Militarism as a Competitive Strategy Scholars often cite warfare as a significant factor in both the initial emergence of chiefdoms and their consolidation into more complex forms (Carneiro 1981, 1990; Redmond 1994:123–124; Sanders and Price 1968: 132; Webster 1975:467). However, large-scale interpolity conflict is often at least implicitly viewed as arising out of factors external to the local political economy; that is, the equilibrium of the local system is upset when ecological variables and population growth create conditions in which groups are no longer buffered from conquest-oriented conflict along their territorial boundaries. I would like to suggest that the role of warfare in sociopolitical evolution is better understood if we view conflict as one of many dynamic elements of chiefly political economies. Maritime raiding was one of a number of strategies used by Southeast Asian chiefs and kings to expand their social prestige, economic base, and political power. Because of the relative abundance of productive land relative to labor in the prehispanic Philippines and in other parts of Southeast Asia, seizure of slaves (but also agricultural stores, metal weaponry, and elite paraphernalia), rather than territories, was a primary motivating factor in interpolity raiding. Raids against rival groups enhanced chiefly status and political sway by providing women for polygamous marriages, increasing agricultural and craft productivity through enslaved labor, and providing sacrificial victims for status-enhancing ritual feasts held by the chiefly elite. Strategic raids on rival coastal ports also gained the chiefly aggressor advantage in the foreign prestige goods trade. Coastal raids effected considerable economic hardship on trade competitors and made them less desirable trade partners, as the attacked population fled inland and port resources were destroyed. Epic stories emphasizing warrior prowess, warfare-related ritual, and warrior status insignia reinforced the social value of raiding activities, allowing chiefs to raise large fighting forces through their alliance networks. Warfare was not without cost, however , to the militaristic chief. The use of male labor in warfare and deflection of resources toward production of war technology limited other wealthgenerating pursuits. Raiding and Militarism 337 Warfare in Complex Societies A number of cross-culturally comparative studies have suggested that warfare in chiefdom-level societies differs from that in tribal societies by its expansionist focus on acquisition of territory, resources, and captives and by its concentration of military power in the hands of a chiefly leaders (Carneiro 1990; Redmond 1994:51; Vayda 1961). As summarized by Redmond , warfare in tribal societies is an individual or personal pursuit, motivated by ideologies of blood revenge, and the gain to the aggressor is measured in terms of personal power and prestige among his fellows (1994:51). Participation in fighting can ramify from two single individuals to whole tribes, depending on the status and relationship of the two individuals involved , but any male usually has the “right” to initiate aggression against an individual or groups who have wronged him. The recruiting of war parties is generally ad hoc and without centralized or advanced planning: tribal warriors have to be induced to fight through invocations of kinship, they generally provision themselves with weapons and food supplies, and “war leader” positions are episodic rather than permanent (Redmond 1994: 52). Capture of booty in the form of human trophies, valuable goods, and women is generally secondary to gaining personal status through properly executed revenge, and warfare rarely results in permanent territorial loss or group displacement (Johnson and Earle 1987:120). In contrast, warfare in chiefdoms and states is generally characterized as conquest-oriented and related to the political ambitions of powerful leaders (Carneiro 1981, 1990; Johnson and Earle 1987:215, 219). While blood revenge and status enhancement for individual warriors are still significant proximal justifications for warfare, Redmond suggests that these individual motivations are overshadowed by the “acquisitive pursuits of chiefs” who maintain a monopoly on the use of large-scale violence. As summarized by Redmond, “The purpose of chiefly warfare is expansionist: the seizing of land, resources, and captives takes precedence over avenging dead kinsmen” (1994:51). Centralized organization of warfare by polity rulers and their elite bureaucracies is evident in the production and stockpiling of weapons and siege resources at the polity center, in the presence of a permanent military command hierarchy, and in the enforced conscription of warriors (Carneiro 1990; Redmond 1994:52). While tribal warfare often consists of hitand -run raids in which casualties are few, the larger-scale attacks against whole villages typical of chiefly war parties can involve...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780824864064
Related ISBN
9780824820350
MARC Record
OCLC
45843033
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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