Leon Levy Lecture - Honor and International Violence

Honor and International Violence - Barry O'Neill

Institute for Advanced Study
April 30, 2009

Barry O'Neill, Leon Levy Foundation Member, School of Social Science.  Many of the world’s societies function by codes of honor. Violence between ethnic groups or countries often follows the rules of honor among individuals, in particular among males. In general this means willingness to face risk to defend the group, to take vengeance, and to make clear to others that one values honor. Points of honor vary across cultures, however. In this lecture, Barry O’Neill, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, will argue that in a dispute, a state must understand its rival’s honor code even if it rejects it. O’Neill uses game theory to study international decision-making with a view to preventing war.