Learning from Extant Cultures of Peace

  • Douglas P. Fry
  • Bruce D. Bonta
  • Karolina Baszarkiewicz
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)

Boulding (1978, p. 93) once quipped, “Anything that exists is possible.” The anthropological literature documents the existence of peaceful societies from around the globe. This chapter focuses on what extant peaceful societies can teach us about creating and maintaining “cultures of peace.” First, we will consider “peace systems.” Peace systems are comprised of neighboring societies that do not wage war on each other. A comparison of peace systems from Brazil's Upper Xingu River basin, India's Nilgiri and Wynaad Plauteaus, and the European Union (EU) suggests certain psychosocial features that help to prevent warfare and to promote cultures of peace within these peace systems. The cultures of peace elements with the most obvious relevance to peace systems include, for instance, social norms for peace education and socialization (including the promotion of values that explicitly shun intergroup violence), social cohesion and tolerance, inclusion of all groups in the system (human rights and equality values), a de-emphasis on security sought via military means, and in some cases, democratic participation, such as in the EU

Second, we will consider some lessons for creating cultures of peace as derived from a study of internally peaceful societies. Several elements of the cultures of peace concept are germane to internally peaceful societies: societal norms favoring education and socialization for peace and the use of nonviolent dialogue and conflict resolution practices, valuing of women and nurturance, and the attainment of social cohesion via tolerance and understanding


European Union Social Cohesion Conflict Resolution Physical Aggression Water Hyacinth 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas P. Fry
    • 1
  • Bruce D. Bonta
  • Karolina Baszarkiewicz
    • 2
  1. 1.Developmental Psychology ProgramÅbo Akademi UniversityFinland
  2. 2.Social and Caring SciencesÅbo Akademi UniversityFinland

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