Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Evolutionary scholars often emphasize the strategic benefits of coalitions in male aggression and warfare. Evolutionary theories of human female coalitions, however, have not recognized any competitive function for coalitional behavior and instead emphasize mutual nurturing and help with child care. This focus is despite the fact that a significant body of research has shown that coalitions in nonhuman female primates do serve competitive functions. This essay argues that coalitional relationships among human females—like those among human males and those among female nonhuman primates—serve aggressive functions in reputational competition. It further argues that, for either sex, competition via gossip and coalitional gossip is usually a better strategy than physical aggression when it comes to within-group competition. Finally, the essay proposes that, because human females might face more within-group competition than human males, women and girls might engage in more gossip than men and boys.

Keywords: evolutionary, coalitions, aggression, warfare, coalitional behavior, reputational competition, gossip, coalitional gossip, within-group competition

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.