Robbers, Yuri Books

Dr. Yuri Robbers is an ethologist researching social systems, time structure and theoretical ethology. He is currently employed as a teacher at the Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden,.amd as a researcher at Liden University.

Agonic and Hedonic Styles of Social Behaviour
2005 0-7734-6201-5
Michael Chance created the concept of two modes of social interaction, agonic and hedonic. The one based upon threat, power and anxiety; the other on playful catching of attention and prestige. Whereas the rhesus macaque’s social system in mainly agonic, chimpanzees are capable of hedonic social relationships. Humans can switch between modes (Chance and Jolly, 1970).

These ideas have been quite considerably developed in a number of books (Chance and Larsen, 1976; Chance (ed.) 1988; A. Stevens, 1955; A. Stevens and Price, 1996; Kortmulder, 1998), and in the many discussions of the so-called Social Systems Institute (SSI). A precipitate of the latter may be found in a series of articles in the ASCAP Newsletter (D. Stevens, 1993; Price, 1995; Kortmulder, 1996; D. Stevens, 1997).

Nevertheless, it has been found that the potentialities of the concept have been far from exhausted, particularly as to the biological roots of the two modes, their definition, and their dynamics: how is it that each mode tends to be stable over long periods of time, and how are transitions between them effected? The present book by Koenraad Kortmulder and Yuri Robbers offers new data and new viewpoints. The biological scope has been widened vastly to comprise all vertebrates; the book proposes descriptive definitions along with a discussion of definitions by others; and it submits some detailed models, both deterministic and statistical, to explain the modes’ dynamics as well as their tendency to coexist.

The book has been written by two biologists who both have a broad interest in human behavior and the social sciences. They have favoured a non-specialist style, so as to make the book readable by educated laymen and graduate students as well as scientists working in the biological, psychological and sociological disciplines.