Douglas P. Fry

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Douglas P. Fry

Douglas P. Fry (born 20 September 1953 in Boston), is a docent in the Department of Developmental Psychology and administers the program called Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research, a cooperative Master’s program between the University of Tampere and Åbo Akademi University in Finland. In 2005, Dr. Fry was the recipient of Åbo Akademi University's teaching excellence award. Some of the courses he teaches include Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies II, The Power of Nonviolence, Cross-Cultural Psychology, Conflict Resolution in a Cross-Cultural Perspective, and Peaceful Societies & Peace Systems. Furthermore, Dr. Fry is an adjunct research scientist in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Dr. Fry, a renowned American anthropologist, has written extensively on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution from various theoretical perspectives for over twenty-five years. He is a leading expert in his field with his articles having been published in journals such as Aggressive Behavior, American Anthropologist, Bulletin of Peace Proposals, Child Development, Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research, Science, and Sex Roles, among others. Dr. Fry is one of the co-editors of the Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.

Key Ideas[edit]

Drawing from peaceful societies and various psychological findings, some of Dr. Fry's writings debunk the belief that war is inevitable and that there is an inborn instinct of aggression in humans.[1][2][3] He points out that, for perhaps ninety-nine percent of our evolutionary history, for well over a million years, humans lived in nomadic hunter-and-gatherer groups, egalitarian bands where warfare was a rarity. Dr. Fry shows that, far from being natural, warfare actually appeared quite recently along with changes in social organization and especially the rise of states. Strong anthropological findings, which have been replicated over different studies show that there is a correlation between social complexity and the likelihood of war.[4] What this means is the simplest type of society, nomadic hunter gatherer bands, tend to be relatively unwarlike and as social complexity increases into kingdoms and chiefdoms, the chance of warfare definitely increases. Fry’s definition of war and his argument that war is a relatively recent phenomenon has been adopted by other academics studying war and conflict resolution, for example ethologist Judith Hand and sociologist Sinisa Malesevic.

Dr. Fry's most recent book is an edited volume called War, Peace, and Human Nature.[5] War, Peace, and Human Nature consists of chapters by archaeologists, nomadic forager specialists, primatologists, ethologists, psychologists, and scholars from other fields who consider the latest findings, and provide innovative insights, on war and peace in cultural and evolutionary contexts.[6] The book explores the human capacity to wage war, but considering that peaceful societies exist, it is evident, that war cannot be viewed as a human universal instead the view of human nature is inherently warlike stems from and is embedded in western cultural beliefs and scientific writings.[7]

Dr. Fry is conducting an ongoing research project that examines conflict management and reconciliation using a cross-cultural database covering 186 societies called the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS). One of his research interests is to understand how to create peace systems by examining real world examples of such nonwarring clusters of societies. One area of Dr. Fry's research is drawn from nomadic forager studies for peace. Some have proposed that warfare has evolved many millennia ago within early nomadic forager band societies. In a recent study puplished in science, it was found that most events involving lethal aggression at the nomadic forager social organization were homicides, some others feuds. Dr. Fry and Söderberg reexamined the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample of foragers and found little evidence for large-scale conflicts or wars.[8] [9] [10]

Writing in 2013, Douglas P Fry noted that the creation of a global peace system involves synergistic elements such as a transformative vision that a peace-based global system is possible, the understanding of interdependence and cooperation, an added level of social identity including all human beings, the creation of effective and democratic procedures of international adjudication, and peace-supporting symbols and values.[11]

Main Publications[edit]


  • Fry, Douglas P. (Ed). (2013). War, Peace, and Human Nature. New York: Oxford University Press. (NB: This book is the enduring product from Wenner-Gren grant CONF-532)
  • Kurtz, Lester (Editor-in-Chief) (2008)., A. McAlister, A. Petit, A. Coker, B. Chasin, D. Ritter, D. Fry, J. Oberg, J. Backwell, L. Lorentzen, M. Okamoto, & R. Elias (Associate Eds.): Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict, Volumes 1-3, second edition. New York: Elsevier/Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-369503-1
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2007). Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530948-0
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2006). The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-518178-6
  • Kemp, Graham & Douglas P. Fry (Eds.) (2004).: Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies around the World. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94761-8
  • Fry, Douglas P. & Kaj Björkqvist (Eds.) (1997).: Cultural Variation in Conflict Resolution: Alternatives to Violence. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Press. ISBN 0-8058-2222-4

Edited Journal Issues:

  • Fry, Douglas P. & Souillac, Geneviéve (2013). The Relevance of Nomadic Forager Studies to Moral Foundations Theory: Moral Education and Global Ethics in the Twenty-First Century. Journal of Moral Education, (July) vol:xx-xx.
  • Anthropological Perspectives on Aggression, Douglas P. Fry, Guest Editor, Aggressive Behavior, Vol. 24, No. 2.1998
  • On Aggression in Women and Girls: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Fry, Douglas P. & Ayala Gabriel, Guest Editors, Sex Roles, Vol. 30, Nos. 3 & 4, 1994

Recent and most Relevant Articles:

  • Fry, Douglas P. War, Peace, and Human Nature (2013). The Challenge of Achieving Scientific Objectivity. In Douglas P. Fry (Ed.) War, Peace, and Human Nature: Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views, pp. 1-21. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Fry, Douglas P. & Szala, Anna. The Evolution of Agonism (2013). The Triumph of Restraint in Nonhuman and Human Primates. In Douglas P. Fry (Ed.) War, Peace, and Human Nature: Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views, pp. 451-474. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2013). Cooperation for Survival: Creating a Global Peace System. In Douglas P. Fry (Ed.) War, Peace, and Human Nature: Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views, pp. 543-558. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2013). Governance and the Creation of Peace Systems. In Tom Rippon & Graham Kemp (Eds.) Governance and Security, pp. 231-258.
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2012). Abolition of War: An Agenda for Survival. In Krzysztof Wodiczko (Ed.) The Abolition of War, pp. 116-137. London: Black Dog Press.
  • Fry, Douglas P. & Miklikowska, Marta (2012). Culture of Peace. In Morton Deutsch & Peter Coleman (Eds.) Psychological Components of Sustainable Peace, 227-243. New York: Springer.
  • Fry, Douglas P. (2012). Anthropological Examples of Peacemaking: Practice and Theory. In Susan Allen Nan, Zachariah Mampily, & Andrea Bartoli (Eds.) Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory, Volume II, pp. 550-562. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International.
  • Miklikowska, Marta & Fry, Douglas P. (2012). Natural Born Nonkillers: A Critique of the Killers-Have-More-Kids Idea. In Daniel J. Christie & Joám Evans Pim (Eds.) Nonkilling Psychology, pp. 43-70. Honolulu: Center for Global Nonkilling.

Membership in Professional Associations[edit]

Editorial Boards[edit]

  • Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research (on-going).
  • Aggressive Behavior, Official Journal of the International Society for Research on Aggression (on-going).
  • Internet site: (on-going).
  • Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World’s Cultures (Kluwer Academic) Advisory Board, 2004.
  • Social Justice: Anthropology, Peace and Human Rights, 1999-2004.


  1. ^ Fry, D. P. (2006). The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 262.
  2. ^ Fry, D. P. (01.03.2008). Worlds Without War. An Idea for the Greater Good. The Greater Good. The Science of a Meaningful Life. Retrieved from
  3. ^ Fry, D. P. (2007). Beyond War: The human potential for peace. New York: Oxford Press
  4. ^ Fry, D. P.(2007). Beyond War: The human potential for peace. New York: Oxford Press.
  5. ^ Fry, D. P. (ed.) (2013). War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views. New York: Oxford University Press
  6. ^ Fry, D. P. (15.11.2013). Douglas P. Fry. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Fry, D. P. (2013). War, Peace and Human Nature: The challenge of archiving scientific objectivity. In Fry, D. P. (eds.), War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views (page 2- 21). New York: Oxford University Press
  8. ^ Dr. Fry, D. P., & Söderberg, P. (19.07.2013). Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and Implications for the Origins of War. Science (2013), 341: 270-273. Retrieved from
  9. ^ Kaim, B. (18.07.2013). Human Nature May Not Be So Warlike After All. Retrieved from
  10. ^ The Economist (20.07.2013) The origins of war. Old soldiers?The latest research suggests humans are not warriors in their genes, after all. Retrieved from
  11. ^ Fry, P.D. (18.05.2012) Life Without War. Science 18 May 2012: Vol. 336 no. 6083 pp. 879-884 Retrieved from

External links[edit]

Blogs and Press Coverage[edit]