Re-Instituting Dueling

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Jonathan Gottschall discusses Why Men Fight & Why We Like to Watch on The Art of Manliness podcast and suggests that a re-institution of dueling codes could be a good thing:

One of the cool things I’ve read and, again, in the work with sociologists, is arguments for the re-institution of a dueling culture. For instance, in inner city neighborhoods or in prisons. We’re talking about specifically a culture of boxing duels.

The point is that what you have in an inner city neighborhood or many inner city neighborhoods and certainly in serious prisons are cultures of honor without dueling codes. If you are going to have a culture of honor, a culture where men are incredibly touchy about disrespect and willing to claim respect with physical violence, you don’t want to have that kind of honor culture without a dueling code because you have that kind of honor culture without a dueling code, then you get things like Hatfield-McCoy blood feuds. You get things like prison shankings. You get things like drive-by shootings.

The idea of a culture of boxing duels would be that it makes those other forms of violence dishonorable. You’re branded a coward and you have to eat a lot of shame if you go outside of the dueling code. So I think there’s at least an argument to be made that in certain situations, a re-institution even of dueling codes could be a good thing.


  1. A Boy and His Dog says:

    This Is pretty dubious reasoning. If one party feels aggrieved by another and challenges that person to a duel, but then loses, are they more likely to accept it or to sit around thinking of ways to even the score?

  2. Isegoria says:

    Boys and men are shockingly likely to end up friends after a “duel” (fight).

  3. Faze says:

    Isegoria is correct. I fought a brutal fistfight with a rival for a girl while a schoolboy. That fight turned us from rivals to best friends — as we still are today. Having a clear winner helped. Others I’ve fought over the years remained enemies because the fight was either broken up by busybodies, or friends entered the fray and it became a general melee.

  4. Rumblestrip says:

    So, Faze, what happened to the girl? Where is she now?

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