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The Rungus individuate the drives of sex and aggression to such a degree that any interlinkage is minimal. As a result sexual aggression, including rape, does not occur behaviorally.

In the analysis of this I have addressed the problem of how sociocultural factors have shaped biological drives. There is another side to this interactionism that I briefly touched on earlier.18 Has this shaping had in turn any attendant biological consequences? I will now return to this problem with the caution that the contrasting concepts of environment and hereditary or culture and biology are not natural categories but are constructed ones that may only partially map the reality that we are attempting to discover.

In analyzing the biological consequences of sociocultural behavior two distinctions have to be made. There is the interactionism in which the environment has a critical influence on developmental processes during sensitive phases. This may result in the developmental sequence being interrupted; or being facilitated so that development proceeds onto the next phase; or being transformed so that a new sequence of development follows. I shall refer to this as developmental interactionism.

There is also the interactionism in which all sociocultural processes require the expenditure of physical and psychological energy. This I have termed "biosocial energetics" (G. N. Appell 1984). A human population uses its sociocultural system as a means of adaptation to its environment. Physical and psychological energies are expended in responding to the energetic requirements that arise from adaptation demands. And these responses are molded by each sociocultural system, so that the expenditure of energies is channeled through its own unique organization. But the very organization of the sociocultural system also has its own built-in requirements for energy expenditure to maintain it, and these also have adaptational consequences. A measure of the effectiveness of any sociocultural system in meeting both these external and internal demands for adaptation is the degree to which health impairments or enhancements result, as these are in part the product of the overload or the efficient management of adaptation demands (see G. N. Appell 1984, 1986).19

To return to the problems posed by the Rungus data, does the segregation of the drives of sex and aggression have any explanation in terms of developmental interactionism? Are there any child-rearing behaviors that might interact with a particularly sensitive period for the individuation of these drives and thus facilitate this individuation? There is not enough evidence as yet to determine if there exists such a sensitive period in child development. And as we have noted, there appear to be no major child-rearing techniques that have relevance here, unless it is the permissive toilet training, which is not particularly unique, the process of weaning that occurs with the arrival of a subsequent sibling in which the father substitutes as the primary care-giver for this period, or the long-term physical contact between child and parent that arises from regularly carrying the child in a sarong close to the parent's body during the child's first two to four years. I am speculating here to stimulate research.

I have also examined the biosocial energetics of this drive differentiation to determine what consequences there might be to various behavioral domains and the biology of the population. That is, what are the biosocial costs of this segregation of drives? And can we measure the demands for adaptation that this requires? To further this inquiry and deal with the issue of the biological roots for sexual aggression, I made the distinction between strong and weak biological factors. This distinction is analytically a blunt instrument. But it permits us to pose certain questions. We would expect that the sociocultural modification of behavior with a strong biological component would involve greater psychological, social, and physical costs. That is, there would be greater demands for adaptation requiring greater biosocial energies to be expended. And the greater the modification, the greater the costs. These costs of adaptation by the society can again be measured by the level of health impairments, psychological, physical, and behavioral.

On the other hand, we would expect that the sociocultural shaping of behavior which has a weak biological component would not involve the same level of energetic costs, and these may not even be significant enough to measure.

Thus, if there are strong biological roots for the interlinkage of sex and aggression, as many have argued, there should be some biosocial energetic costs to the Rungus population as a result of the separation of these drives, some distinctive level of impairment. But we have not yet discovered any. Biologically, the Rungus population does not express any obvious stresses from the energetics involved in segregating these drives either in reproductive capacity or in other physical, behavioral, or psychological impairments. Nor do the cultural projective systems indicate that there are any significant costs in the development of defensive mechanisms as a result of this. This lends considerable substance to the claim that sexual aggression is primarily a product of sociocultural factors. But our conclusions may be an artifact of our ethnographic methods, and further field investigation of this issue would be welcome.

Thus, the only explanation that we have been able to advance to date for ensuring this segregation of the drives of sex and aggression is the overall pattern of jural sanctions, rules of etiquette, and the background belief system. That is, models for and of behavior. Obviously, child rearing must play a large part in this, but we have found nothing particularly distinctive in Rungus child rearing to indicate what this might be.

These conclusions thus suggest several things. First, the enculturative costs of ensuring the segregation of the drives of sex and aggression may not be high. And the biosocial costs of maintaining the segregation of these drives may also not be high. On the other hand, the enculturative costs in creating the interlinkage of the drives of sex and aggression may be high, and certainly the biosocial costs from the consequences of this interlinkage appear to be high in other societies.

To get a better grasp on these problems we need detailed studies of child rearing among the Rungus and other societies of Borneo. For there are other Bornean societies, such as the Iban (see Sutlive in the Introduction), in which rape appears to be unknown but which vary significantly in terms of the expression of the aggressive drive. And there are societies with a different cultural ecology, such as the foraging Penan, who also exhibit no sexual aggression (Peter Brosius, personal communication). Thus, research on the societies of Borneo offers a unique opportunity to cleanse many of the anthropological generalizations about society and human nature that are culturally contaminated from the presuppositions of our own cultural system and from cross-cultural research that is not yet truly cross-cultural.


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