This monograph-length contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium “Peace by Other Means” reviews and assesses the state of ethnographic and political scholarship concerning how nonstate, tribal societies deal with peacemaking and peacekeeping. A central argument is that the condition among nonstate societies was and is neither one of permanent war nor one of permanent peace but one of permanent peacelessness. Nonstate societies recognize the danger of warfare and take measures to reduce its likelihood, or at least try to mitigate its destructiveness. This article treats the politics, strategies, and practices of peacemaking in tribal societies throughout the world, as well as the full spectrum of attempts at war mitigation.

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