Dominant and Dominated Animals Publication date : March 4, 2015
Alexis Rosenbaum teaches the philosophy of science at Paris Tech and is the author of several works on the notion and foundations of hierarchies. He has an agrégation in philosophy and a doctorate in cognitive psychology.
Power struggles in wolf packs, inequality and castes in the insect world, dominant apes with the power of life and death over their congeners: for a long time, humans viewed animal groups as societies ruled by strict, unchanging hierarchies. But improved observation of animal societies has revealed a different reality, one in which the dominant and the dominated may switch places in accordance with their changing interests.
In recent years, research in ethology has progressed so rapidly that we are now obliged to review many of our preconceived ideas about life in animal groups.
It is clear that we must take into account power relations that are much more sophisticated than simple domination, that collaboration and solidarity exist among animals, that alliances can be flexible and changeable, and that females are very often able to make their demands known.
In addition, this fascinating journey into the animal kingdom sheds light on inequality in human society.
• A clear, precise overview of scientific research on dominance in the animal kingdom.
• A new definition of the foundations of animal sociability.
• Based on numerous examples, this is the first work of synthesis on animal hierarchies.