Homicide (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, Jan 1, 1988 - Psychology - 328 pages
2 Reviews

The human race spends a disproportionate amount of attention, money, and expertise in solving, trying, and reporting homicides, as compared to other social problems. The public avidly consumes accounts of real-life homicide cases, and murder fiction is more popular still. Nevertheless, we have only the most rudimentary scientific understanding of who is likely to kill whom and why. Martin Daly and Margo Wilson apply contemporary evolutionary theory to analysis of human motives and perceptions of self-interest, considering where and why individual interests conflict, using well-documented murder cases.

This book attempts to understand normal social motives in murder as products of the process of evolution by natural selection. They note that the implications for psychology are many and profound, touching on such matters as parental affection and rejection, sibling rivalry, sex differences in interests and inclinations, social comparison and achievement motives, our sense of justice, lifespan developmental changes in attitudes, and the phenomenology of the self.

This is the first volume of its kind to analyze homicides in the light of a theory of interpersonal conflict. Before this study, no one had compared an observed distribution of victim-killer relationships to "expected" distribution, nor asked about the patterns of killer-victim age disparities in familial killings. This evolutionary psychological approach affords a deeper view and understanding of homicidal violence.

  

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A classic in evolutionary psychology. The ideas are still fresh despite the book now being 25 years old, as most subsequent work is based on this book. Well-written and packed with data, it's considerably more careful (and less sensationalist) than some others that have followed. Strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in either the causes of violence or in evolutionary psych... it's an example of how to do it right. 

Contents

Homicide and Human Nature
1
A Brief Introduction to Selection Thinking
2
Evolutionary Psychology
6
SelfInterest and Conflict
10
Why Homicide?
11
Whats A Homicide?
13
Killing Kinfolks
17
Who Kills Whom? Some American Data
18
The Sexual Selective History of Homo sapiens
143
Intrasexual Competition and Violence
145
Margaret Mead and New Guinea
149
Biophobia
152
On the Causes of Sex Differences
156
The Logic of SameSex Conflict
163
The Demography of Homicide
168
The Problem of Motive
170

Do Relatives Pose a Lesser Risk?
20
Collaborative Killing in 13thCentury England
24
Some Other Studies with Higher Proportions of Blood Kin
26
Fraternal Strife
30
Kinship and Collaborative Homicide Revisited
34
Killing Children I Infanticide in the Ethnographic Record
37
Womens Life Histories
39
Discriminative Parental Solicitude
42
A CrossCultural Review
43
FemaleSelective Infanticide
53
Other Interests
56
Killing Children II Parental Homicide in the Modern West
61
Infanticide and Maternal Age
62
Infanticide and Maternal Marital Status
63
A Brief History of Infanticide in England
64
On Maternal Bonding
69
When a Defective Child Is Born
72
The Childs Changing Risk of Homicide at Parental Hands
73
Mothers Who Kill Older Children
77
Fathers Who Kill
80
Substitute Parents
83
Risks to Children Living with Stepparents
85
Stepparents and Offspring Age
90
Parricide Killing Parents
95
Killing Parents
98
An Asymmetry of Valuation
99
Factors Associated with the Risk of Parricide
103
Oedipal Conflict and the Primal Parricide
107
Oedipus Overextended
111
Conflict Over What?
114
FatherDaughter Conflict
115
Toppling the Patriarch
117
Intrasexual Rivalry or ParentOffspring Conflict?
119
Altercations and Honor
123
Trivial Altercations
124
Status Reputation and the Capacity for Violence
126
A Question of Variance
131
What Do Men Want?
134
Why Men and Not Women?
137
Polygyny Is a Matter of Degree
140
Sexual Success versus Survival?
142
Insult and Redress
174
Robbery Homicides
178
Sexual Rivalry
179
Sexual Rivalry Homicides
183
Till Death Us Do Part
187
Wives as Commodities?
188
Adultery Law
190
Provocation and the Reasonable Man
193
Spousal Homicide and Sexual Jealousy in North America
196
The Killers View of the Matter
200
Conjugal Jealousy and Violence Around the World
202
Violence as Coercive Control
205
From May to December
208
Partners in Procreation
211
Familicide Suicide and Spite
213
Retaliation and Revenge
221
On the CrossCultural Ubiquity of Blood Revenge
224
Fraternal Interest Groups
227
On the Utility of the Revenge Motive
229
An Eye for an Eye A Tooth for a Tooth
231
An Honorable Resolution
235
Vengeance Lost
238
The Decline of Kin Right in English Law
241
Impersonal Justice
245
Calling the Killers to Account
253
Blameworthiness in Evolutionary Perspective
254
On Malice and Magic
258
The Insanity Defense
261
Diminished Responsibility
268
A Penalty to Fit the Crime?
269
On Cultural Variation
275
On the Annual Homicide Rates of Nations
277
On Culture and Imitative Violence
279
What Sorts of Homicides Are Most Variable in Their Frequency?
284
Subcultures of Violence
286
On the Legitimacy of Killing
288
Violent Times?
291
Summary and Concluding Comments
293
References
299
Index
323
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