Determinism in the mountains: The ongoing belief in the bellicosity of 'mountain people'

Steve Pickering


It has long been argued that mountains have an effect on wars. While some research understands this chiefly in physical terms, other research looks at the effect that mountains have on human nature. This article looks at the two thousand year history of the term 'mountain people.' It explores how the belief has emerged that living in mountainous regions changes people to the degree that it makes them more likely to engage in conflict. It also explores how mountain people can be seen in a more positive light, but this perspective is often ignored by both popular media and conflict research. It makes the case that the foundations upon which perceptions of 'mountain people' are based are rather shaky and somewhat misleading for empirical conflict research.

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