DOI link for Introduction
Almost one hundred years ago Georg Simmel published his seminal study of the ﬁght (Simmel 1908). With this work he was the ﬁrst to transcend the conﬁnes of evolutionist thinking about violence that had viewed intergroup conﬂict mainly as an instrument of evolutionary selection. From the evolutionist perspective, war was something that had developed along with the rest of the cultural inventory from unregulated primordial aggressiveness ‘in the depths of mankind’1 to modern, mechanised warfare as described by Clausewitz. Simmel looks at violence as a synchronic event, as a type of social relations between individuals and collectivities that serves speciﬁc ends at intergroup as well as intragroup levels. With this functional approach he set the stage for the modern anthropological study of violent confrontations that views them as social action relative to the interests and convictions of conscious actors.