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Cooperation and punishment

Kajanus, Anni and Stafford, Charles ORCID: 0000-0002-8024-5563 (2023) Cooperation and punishment. In: Laidlaw, James, (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook for the Anthropology of Ethics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 610 - 628. ISBN 9781108482806

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Identification Number: 10.1017/9781108591249.024


This chapter focuses on questions related to human cooperation, focussing in particular on punishment as a means of enforcing cooperation. We take child development processes as a means to investigate this, drawing on fieldwork material from China and Taiwan. As anthropologists would expect, we find that: (a) cooperation is not only a cultural phenomenon but also a historical and political one; (b) reciprocity is a key feature of human cooperation, but the manifestations of this in particular fieldsites are highly variable and sometimes surprising; and (c) cooperation in one domain of life tends to spill over into other domains of life. As noted, however, we go beyond standard anthropological accounts of cooperation by adding a set of questions regarding punishment and child development – questions that, in turn, may help bring the anthropological study of cooperation into closer dialogue with work being done by scholars in other disciplines on this important topic. The goal is to develop comparative questions about ethical life: ones anchored in species-level understandings of what it is to be human and to engage in human cooperation.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Cambridge University Press & Assessment
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2024 16:33
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 06:02

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