My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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the fabric of elephant society

I read the NYTimes’ article on shifts in elephant society a few weeks ago but BB’s post reminded me to post it. In short, elephant society is going haywire. The young males are not being properly socialized into the elephant herds because of not having older patriarchs and matriarchs to keep them in line. As a result, there’s massive amounts of unchecked violence and aggression. Violence is rampant now, as is what appears to be PTSD (resulting in more violence). Anyhow, read the article. It’s a fascinating look into the collapse of society. (And obviously, there are interesting questions of parallels…)

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4 comments to the fabric of elephant society

  • Louis Simoneau

    Fantastic article. Thanks for pointing it out, even if I’m now significantly more depressed.

  • This is an excellent article. It makes me wonder if the elephants have, in a way, adapted to the violence done onto them and started to act out in accordance with that. Certainly the killing of people could even be seen as an evolution of sorts, having evolved to take out a predator they once didn’t need to. Very thought provoking.

  • Joe

    What do you think about this article:

    The form gave parents the option to check one box to keep their child’s personal information out of school publications and another to prevent the school from giving the information to military recruiters.

    This year, parents of about 500 South Elgin students, 500 Streamwood students and 600 Larkin students checked the box, according to the principals at those schools.

    For those students, that means no articles in the school newspaper, no identifying information in the yearbook, no line on the team roster, no listing in the end-of-the-year awards program.

    For those schools, that means monitoring the school newspaper to ensure none of those names appears in print and weighing how to handle a yearbook that likely would include group photos of some of those students.

    “This has become a very difficult and kind of necessary conversation we’ve had here,” South Elgin Principal Jean Bowen said. “Taken to its extreme, it would force us to blank out some individual’s pictures.”

    http://www.dailyherald.com/news/kanestory.asp?id=244414&cc=kc&tc=elg&t=Elgin

  • Think of another section of human society where there is an absence of an older male role model to keep the aggression of younger males in check. Got any ideas yet? Think of the inner city African American youth, whose fathers have a terribly high incarceration rate. Look at the fragmentation and decline of their social fabric and then put it one on one with the elephants … scary hu?