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Positive and Negative Peace

Part of the SpringerBriefs on Pioneers in Science and Practice book series (BRIEFSPIONEER,volume 5)


Any concept of peace includes the absence of direct violence between states, engaged in by military and others in general, and of massive killing of categories of humans in particular. But peace would be a strange concept if it does not include relations between genders, races, classes and families, and does not also include absence of structural violence, the non-intended slow, massive suffering caused by economic and political structures in the form of massive exploitation and repression. And the absence of the cultural violence that legitimizes direct and-or structural violence.


  • Main Diagonal
  • Golden Rule
  • Structural Violence
  • Massive Killing
  • Negative Coupling

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Fig. 17.1


  1. 1.

    This text was first published in From Charles P. Webel and Jørgen Johansen, Eds. Peace and Conflict Studies: A Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2012, pp. 75–79.

  2. 2.

    For more on this see Johan Galtung, Peace By Peaceful Means, London etc.: SAGE, 1998, Part I.

  3. 3.

    A very weak, undeveloped field, in economic theory and practice, with the social, economic and cultural rights of the 16 December 1966 Human Rights Convention being an effort, but not yet ratified by a leading state in the state system, the United States.

  4. 4.

    And that is where democracy (one person one vote) and human rights (every one is entitled-) enter, gradually not only within countries, but also among them. Political scientists have been far ahead of economists in giving meaning to equity.

  5. 5.

    See Johan Galtung, Transcend & Transform, London: PLUTO and Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2004.

  6. 6.

    “Always act so that the thesis underlying your will could serve as a general law.”

  7. 7.

    See Johan Galtung, The Way Is the Goal: Gandhi Today, Ahmedabad: Navajivan, Gujarat Vidyapith, 1992.

Further Reading

  • Galtung J (2008) “Towards a Grand Theory of Negative and Positive Peace: Peace, Security and Conviviality”, in: Murakami, Yoichiro; Schoenbaum, Thomas J. (Eds.): A Grand Design for Peace and Reconciliation: Achieving Kyosei in East Asia (Cheltenham, UK, and North Hampton, Massachusetts, USA: Edward Elgar): 90–106.

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Correspondence to Johan Galtung .

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Galtung, J., Fischer, D. (2013). Positive and Negative Peace. In: Johan Galtung. SpringerBriefs on Pioneers in Science and Practice, vol 5. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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