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“Peaceful societies” is an expression used for groups, contemporary or not, that routinely do not experience warfare or large-scale physical violence within their borders. That expression is highly controversial, and the rare cases that support the peaceful society’s perspectives have been under deep scrutiny. It raises the debate over whether or not human beings are naturally aggressive, and it has been challenged as related to the myth of “primitive harmony.”

Definition and Cases of Peaceful Societies

There is no consensual definition of “peaceful” or “nonviolent” societies, but it usually labels peoples with neither war nor ritual war and who experience virtually no—or in some cases, absolutely no—violence on both intragroup and intergroup levels. But the extent of nonviolence can vary from a peaceful society to another. Some ...

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