Chapter Six: Conclusions
Chapter Six brings my research to its conclusion. This section briefly mentions my conclusions about male bonding. I view male bonding and inter-male conflict as part of the same process. The conflicts create a temporary sense of unity, but the rituals used also contain the seeds for future problems.
This research project explores the relationship between male bonding and inter-male conflict. As addressed in Chapter One, this topic is approached not with the goal of testing any one theory, but with the incentive of learning more about the dynamic and structure of male bonding. I involve fraternity members in a collective process to describe, discuss, and illustrate male bonding and inter-male conflict. My interpretation is that male bonding and inter-male conflict are connected. They are both part of the same process.
As Lionel Tiger (1984) states, “[t]he mechanism of group formation is at the same time the stimulus of inter-group conflict’(131). This research describes these bonds/conflicts at various levels, i.e., one-on-one, inside a group, group-to-group, and between institutions. A prevalent cultural pattern, which is observable at all levels, is that male bonds often contain the dynamic of proving one’s dominance or another’s subordination. In fraternity interaction, the social order is constantly being created, contested, and changed.
For fraternities these battles are reflected inside their house with divided loyalties, multiple hierarchies, and traditional rituals. The struggle to prove dominance also exists in fraternity rivalry which pits one house against another although both groups belong to the same Greek system. At the institutional level similar power struggles exist between fraternities and their host university. These power struggles are observable in fraternity history and the same conflicts are present today. In the resulting battles both opponents negotiate power, construct identity, and establish a structured relationship among themselves.