EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
"PEACE, CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE: PEACE PSYCHOLOGY FOR THE 21ST
CHAPTER 19 - INTRODUCING COOPERATION AND
CONFLICT RESOLUTION INTO SCHOOLS: A SYSTEMS APPROACH by Peter Coleman
and Morton Deutsch
- In recent years, it has been increasingly
recognized that our schools have to change in basic ways if we are to educate
children so that they are for rather than against one another, so that they
develop the ability to resolve their conflicts constructively rather than
destructively, so that they are prepared to contribute to the development of a
peaceful and just world.
- Viewing schools from a systems perspective can
allow us to see how these movements may complement each other and work in
concert to transform our schools at five levels: the disciplinary, the
curricular, the pedagogical, the cultural, and the community.
- In her book, Comprehensive Peace Education
(1988), Betty Reardon states that the general purpose of peace education is
"to promote the development of an authentic planetary consciousness that
will enable us to function as global citizens and to transform the present
human condition by changing the social structures and the patterns of thought
that have created it" (p. x). This statement emphasizes the role of
peace education in transforming the thinking and the values of students around
social interdependence and social justice, in a manner that moves them to
become agents for the constructive transformation of the larger society.
- We see cooperation, conflict, and constructive,
nonviolent approaches to the resolution of conflict as processes that are
central to the broader mission of peace education.
- In order to accomplish this most effectively,
schools must undergo a basic restructuring of the way in which they function.
- Most schools, in the United States anyway, are
not such institutions, and the people within them, teachers and
administrators, are not adequately prepared to function that way. This
must be a core concern for educators.
- Systemic approaches to conceptualizing conflict
processes and intervening in intense conflicts have been gaining increasing
- Interventions at these five levels differ
considerably, but all are aimed at change at both the individual and systems
level and are centered on the values of empowerment, positive social
interdependence, nonviolence and social justice.
- Generally, it is our assessment that mediation
programs alone, although useful, are not sufficient to bring about the
paradigmatic shift in education that we are proposing is needed to prepare
students to live in a peaceful world.
- A culture of competition, authoritarianism,
coercion, and contention still appears to reign supreme in schools in this
country (Glasser, 1992; Raider, 1995).
- the adults in schools also must be trained
- Parents, caretakers, local clergy, local police
officers, members of local community organizations, and others should be
trained in conflict resolution and involved in the overall planning process
for preventing destructive conflict among children and youths.
- unless schools and districts are sufficiently
motivated to embrace a change initiative such as this, it is likely to fail (Sarason,
1982; Roderick, 1998)
- Introducing cooperation and conflict resolution
concepts and practices into schools often involves significant systemic
change. It requires, in a sense, a paradigm shift in how people see and
approach problems. Fostering this type of fundamental change
in the norms and practices of a system requires that people have the necessary
skills to motivate and persuade, organize, mobilize, and institutionalize the
change. These skills need to be more adequately integrated into the
training of school system personnel.
- Students need to have continuing experiences of
constructive conflict resolution as they learn different subject-matters and an
immersion in a school environment which provides these experience. The
school should also act for the students as a model of cooperative relations and
constructive resolution of conflicts.
CHAPTER 23 - TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF STRUCTURAL PEACEBUILDING by
Cristina Jayme Montiel
- psychological strategies
- Social structure pertains to patterns of
relatively permanent hierarchical relations among groups or collectivities in
a social system (Parsons, 1961). This definition highlights three
properties of social structure. First, social systems are the primary
unit of analysis, not interpersonal relations ... Second is that it is
marked by social differentiation that is not only heterogeneous but also
unequal (Blau, 1977). Third... is its invariance or tendency to resist
change (Parsons, 1961).
- A social structure is violent when its vertical
arrangement of inequality prevents huge numbers of collectivities from
satisfying basic human needs (Christie; Galtung). Resources are
controlled by a privileged few. Massive deprivations underneath a layer
of elite overindulgence characterize structurally violent social
- Galtung (1980a) separates the sources of
violence into two types: actors and structures.
- Peace workers who focus on the individual actor
... may remain oblivious to the goal of restructuring vertical intergroup
relations embedded in the social system.
- The primary aim of peace workers with a
structural perspective is to restructure vertical systems toward more equal
- Structurally peaceful social systems are marked
by equitably-distributed decision-powers in the production, allocation, and
utilization of economic, political and cultural resources.
- Building peace entails changing structures of
violence to structures of peace. More specifically, structural
peacebuilding is (a) a social psychological process of transforming (b)
relatively permanent unequal relationships among collectivities in a social
structure (c) to new sets of intergroup relations where all groups have more
equitable control over politico-economic resources needed to satisfy basic
- peacebuilding is characterized by disequilibrium
and strain, as collectivities disengage from a structurally violent system.
- Since structural peacebuilding necessitates
systemic transformation, one needs to take a closer look at sources of
- Paradoxically, the route to creating horizontal
structures includes the production of strain within vertical systems.
- Since vertical structures are deeply embedded in
social systems, structural peacebuilding involves the creation (not the
cessation) of social strain, conflict and disequilibrium between two or more
structural collectivities, producing movement toward more horizontal
- As psychologists and peace activists carry out
peace work in the midst of social conflict, they confront the invisible danger
of prematurely restoring structural equilibrium, even when peacebuilding
requires precisely the opposite, systemic disequilibrium.
- Groups in the dominant structure tend to control
local arsenals and use these to resist attempts to change systemic
- Persistent systemic resistance and the
relatively invariant nature of social structures make structural peacebuilding
a formidable challenge to human societies. As a protective counterforce
to structural invariance, the production and management of strain necessitates
some kind of social power.
- The nature of human action carries the key to
the possibility of structural change despite structural rigidity and
- The mental facilities of purpose and cognition
make it possible to disconnect human action from the deterministic hold of oppressive
and exploitative social structures.
- To produce systemically transformative power,
structural peacebuilders face three concrete tasks: networking, mobilizing,
and political education. ... Mobilization aims to produce collective action
... to oppose the actions emanating from the vertical structure. ... education
transforms the corresponding subjective verticality within one's consciousness
... toward disequilibrating exploitative systems and creating alternative
- ... Paulo Freire's (1970) process of nonvertical
education called conscientization, where the emphasis is on relationships that
are horizontal instead of authoritarian and hierarchical.
- We facilitated conscientization sessions
covering topics such as structural analysis, vision of person and society, ...
political spectrum, active nonviolence, and strategies for change.
- three social psychological processes related to
roles: First, a conscientization process is experienced as people grow aware
of their respective structural roles. Second, individuals disentangle
from the behaviors and cognitions prescribed by their positions in the
embedded inequitable system. Third, individuals acquire new roles needed
to `create and utilize social disequilibrium.
- Those who opt to remain in their structural
roles do not produce any social strain and may even obtain rewards for such
- In summary, the forcefulness of structural
peacebuilding comes from: (a) creative -- i.e. not structure-determined --
action (b) skilled in the production and management of nonviolent social
strain (c) collected or mobilized into conscientized social power (d)
purposefully directed by the dual goals of removing structural inequities and
crafting more equitable structural configurations. These procedural
requirements open up systemic transformation to the positive contributions of
- The production of nonviolent strain includes at least
three psychological ingredients: a sense of sacrifice and shared spirituality
among participants, practical politico-organizational tactics while facing a
militarized enemy, and leadership which is ascetic, pragmatic, and
- A spiritual orientation provides the
psychological strength needed to engage in nonviolent structural
- Creating a social force for restructuring
requires that individuals act collectively and purposefully.
- Some social psychological features of collective
active nonviolence are a high level of psychological tolerance for the enemy,
knowledge of and insistence on one's human rights, the buddy or partner system
(i.e. always being with one other person to deter abduction by military
agents), unquestioned obedience to the group's security marshals, and
protective, not offensive collective behaviors in case of physical violence
(e.g.. lying down and taking cover instead of standing up or going against
water cannons, explosives, and tear gas...)
- Collective nonviolence likewise requires an
attempt to win over the goodwill of the militarized enemy.
- military forces are less angry and fearful
toward women and religious leaders.
- Often, structural peacebuilding leaders fuse
contemporary asceticism with practical political power. Their social
influence emanates not from their ability to wield brute force, but from a
capacity for self-sacrifice and kind acts effectively coupled with pragmatic
political tactics. ... there is not a single leader but many leaders ...
Leadership roles are not centralized for pragmatic reasons.
- the psychological requirements of
self-sacrificial readiness constitute a choice that cannot be imposed by
centralized leadership. Self-sacrifice is a daily personal decision...
- Structures work through social power which, in
turn, is implemented through human action.
- Psychologists tend to focus on individuals'
structural victimization, but not on the discovery of social psychological
processes involved in changing social configurations. A paradigm
expansion is needed.
- the phenomenon of People's Power demonstrates
how large groups can use peaceful but forceful means to disequilibrate
well-oiled authoritarian political structures.
- Global structural peacebuilding refers to
human-based processes that distribute power and wealth more equitably among
the different nations and regions of the world.
- Indeed, psychology holds a vital key to
structural peacebuilding, to the crafting of a more forceful peace.
- And as long as we pursue harmony and avoid
strain, we may remain disconnected from a majority of world populations that
bear the yoke of structural inequities.
CONCLUSION: PEACE PSYCHOLOGY FOR THE
TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY by Deborah Du Nann Winter, Daniel J. Christies,
Richard V. Wagner, and Laura B. Boston
- Many forms of direct violence can be traced to
structure-based inequalities, exacerbated by ethnic tensions, environmental
degradation, and economic desperation, which powerful leaders exploit (Hauchler
& Kennedy, 1994; Homer-Dixon, 1993; Renner, 1996) (emphasis added).
- Paradoxically, both the omnipresence of
armed violence, and the prospects for peace, have never been greater than at
the turn of the millennium.
- Our model distinguishes direct from indirect
violence, and direct from indirect peace.
- Peacebuilding will require increasing rather
than decreasing tension (see Montiel, Ch. 23), redressing poverty (see Dawes),
and the large scale project of building culture of peace (see Wessells,
Schwebel, & Anderson).
- Direct violence usually stems from structural
violence because structured inequalities are predisposing conditions for
outbreaks of violent episodes.
- Activism vs. Analysis: We believe that lasting
peace requires active political confrontation against socially unjust
institutions and traditions.
- Throughout ... history, great thinkers have
urged us to find ways to alleviate human suffering.
- peace psychology should be based on both
activism and analysis. While the idea of political activism is not
new, ... students are not currently trained to practice and pursue it.
- Because public policy is a psychological issue,
we believe that students should be trained how to think about, research,
lobby, and affect peace. ... psychologists cannot abdicate the political
dimension of our work. Our roles as scientists do not require us to
remain politically neutral. Science itself is value laden; feigning
neutrality is intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.
- Thus for several reasons, we believe that peace
psychologists should be activists. First, because peace cannot wait
until all the data are in; second, because we learn from our ideas as we apply
them; third, because we are likely to be better practitioners if we
simultaneously test our ideas.
- we believe that equitable distribution of human
resources is a necessary step for creating peace.
- we cannot abandon the project of defining values
simply because they are difficult to generalize... All we can do is
promote one definition as the best we have right now, staying aware of the
risks involved in putting it forward, and assuming that we will learn more
about how to improve it. Building peace requires us to take some
- proactive approaches aim at the pursuit of
social justice, the mitigation of oppressive and exploitative structures that
can be predisposing conditions for episodes of direct violence.
Proactive approaches treat peace and social justice as indivisible, and take a
long view of peace, committing resources to social changes that embrace the
principles of equity and inclusion (Wagner, 1988).
- Peaceful Means vs. Peaceful Ends: Gandhi's view
explicitly rejected violence of any kind. From his perspective, means
and ends could be distinguished conceptually and temporally, but not morally (Ostergaard,
- Challenges for the Twenty-First Century: ...
transform peace education ...
- Long term solutions require that we illuminate
the systemic connections between direct and indirect levels of violence as
well as between individuals and their communities.
- ... address community structures which give
meaning to individual identity. Thus, the individual cannot be separated
from the collective.
- ... human need for security and respect: ...
violence can be expected until those needs are satisfied.
- ... conflict and war are human behaviors that
have human needs at their root.
- ... attention to the psychological needs that
various groups carry.
- Peace psychology has much to learn from
liberatory pedagogies, the central purpose of which is the empowerment of
individuals and communities to challenge and change the world rather than
adapt to unjust situations (Freire, 1993; Martin-Baro, 1994).
- Transforming peace education to address social
justice presents challenges. First, there may be little consensus about
what constitutes social justice, in which case, the most productive education
might results from simply raising issues, pointing to social injustice in
settings where the topic has never been raised before (see Opotow).
Second, the education process is a multilevel enterprise, in which student
culture, pedagogy, administrative decisions, and community values are relevant
(see Coleman & Deutsch, Ch. 19).
- The problem is that a curriculum that attempts
to transform peace education to address issues of social justice is itself
embedded in socially unjust structures of society.
- Key limits in the twenty-first century will be
fresh water, range-lands, forests, oceanic fisheries, biological diversity,
and the global atmosphere (Brown & Flavin, 1999). As Homer-Dixon (1993)
and Renner (1996) have shown, ecological stresses are common causes of armed
conflict around the world, and we can expect wars to increase as environments
continue to deteriorate. Indeed, some have made a persuasive case for
the proposition that in the twenty-first century, environmental security will
replace national security as a primary strategy for preventing war (Myers,
1993). Environmental security requires international cooperation because
ecological damage does not respect national borders. Global treaties to
protect environmental indicators will become as important as military
alliances are now.
- Education is crucial for building environmental
- Ecological education means helping people assume
responsibility and consciousness about the environmental impacts of their own
households, organizations, governments, and militaries. A peaceful world
will require a populace educated for civic life, committed to environmental
responsibility, and determined to build a peaceful world.
- ... peace depends on ending poverty and making a
commitment to justice and insuring environmental security. Meeting human
needs in the twenty-first century means that we begin building sustainable
- Peace psychologists can provide important
leadership, analysis, activism, and support for the crucial task of building
sustainable peace. Analyzing the causes of violence, rebuilding war-torn
communities, lobbying for social justice and arms control, teaching and
practicing nonviolent conflict resolution, sensitizing ourselves to our own
ethnocentrism, consulting with peacekeeping operations, ensuring gender
parity, addressing ethnic identities and hostilities, empowering alternative
voices, and building environmental security are just a few of the myriad ways
peace psychologists can contribute to building a peaceful world.
- Peacebuilding is not small task -- but, we ask, what
else is more important?
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