Abu-Nimer, M. (2003). Nonviolence and peace building in Islam: Theory and practice. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida.
“Nonviolence means that actors do not violently retaliate against the actions of their opponents. Instead, they absorb anger and damage while sending a steadfast message of patience and an insistence on overcoming injustice.”
Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam examines nonviolence and peacebuilding in Islamic religion and culture, as a response to negative Western image of Islam as an inherently violent religion. It proposes that researchers and practitioners in peace studies move away from this stereotype and focus on the positive aspect of nonviolence and peace building. Abu-Nimer analyzes the reasons for the misconception and delves into Islamic principles of nonviolence and peacebuilding tradition through the study of Islam and its rituals, symbols, and values. The book also highlights social, political and cultural applications of nonviolent strategies in solving Arab-Muslim disputes, peace-building initiatives in Arab-Muslim communities, and nonviolent political movements in the case of Palestinian Intifada. Abu-Nimer‟s book is well grounded in the Muslim culture and tradition, and it provides valuable insights, culturally appropriate point of view, and specific guidelines that respect and incorporate cultural values in building peace in the Muslim community.
Altman, N. (1988). The Nonviolent revolution: A comprehensive guide to Ahimsa, the philosophy of dynamic harmlessness. Dorset, Shaftesbury: Element Books.
“Ahimsa towards oneself is for many the important first step in learning how to walk in harmony upon the Earth Mother and to help to create a peaceful world.”
The Nonviolent Revolution traces the concept of ahimsa in the East to the Jain religion in India, Gautama Buddha, M.K. Gandhi, Lao Tzu in China and to practitioners in the West such as Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Merton, Sir Bertrand Russell, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King. He also recognizes Native Americans and their view of oneness of life, and their deep respect for humans, animals, and all of the natural world. Altman distinguishes ahimsa from nonviolence as it is used in the West and defines ahimsa (non-injury, non-killing) as “dynamic compassion,” as “active expression of compassion.” This book offers a comprehensive guide for consciousness transformation and for conscious integration of compassion into every aspect of our lives, including the relationships among people, attitudes towards war, wealth addiction, food and diet, animals for experimentation, animals for sports, fur, entertainment and companionship, ecological ethic, earth and energy. Throughout the book, Altman advocates individual responsibility in choosing the “right livelihood” and inner healing as a means to achieve planetary healing.
Arendt, H. (1970). On violence. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.
"Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it."
On Violence explores and exposes a phenomenon that has continually recurred throughout human history. During the 20th century, as science and technology have ceaselessly progressed and proliferated to the point that we have created the ability to destroy everything in our natural world, we no longer have a rational basis of extolling violence as a virtue whose ends justify means. Hannah Arendt, in order to provide clarity, defines concepts such as violence, power, authority, force, and strength, terms which are often used interchangeably. By uncovering definitions for these concepts, Arendt makes an elucidating connection between power and violence, two terms that often get used together even though power, as Ardent argues, is the antithesis of violence. Violence is an implement, a means to achieve an end. On the other hand, power, which is an end in itself, requires a concert of people for support in order that its potency is maintained. Violence is implemented when power is threatened, whether it is by the state or by the governed, but it cannot create power. Instead, violence often creates an environment of more violence. Based on her exposition, Arendt argues against the idea that violence is a biological expression of human nature and argues instead that it is an active expression of conscious human decisions. It is our faculty of action that makes us political beings which may explain why violence as an implement is glorified by so many. As the future unfolds, and grips of power slip, violence will continue to present itself as a tempting, yet increasingly destructive and irrational course of action.
Bose, A. (1987). Dimensions of peace and nonviolence: The Gandhian perspective. Delhi, India: Gian Publishing House.
"Peace is the greatest desideratum of the suffering humanity today."
Dimensions of Peace and Nonviolence examines Gandhi‟s principle on peace and peace-making as it manifests itself in various expressions as circumstances demand. This includes his thoughts on education, on women‟s rights, the equality between man and woman, his defense of India‟s peasants in the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, his defense of People‟s Rights in the first Major Confrontation with the British Raj, his Styagraha for human rights, and his struggles for national integration. The book makes it evident that Gandhi‟s principles in nonviolence and in Sarvodaya -- the welfare of all -- springs from his clear understanding of all forms of violence (hatred, intolerance, accusation, rejection, division, etc.) and his commitment to the “right mind” (truth and unity) as the foundation for inner and outer peace, achieved through thoughts, words, and action. This is a precious and much needed study. It fills a gap by grounding the ethos of peace in the Gandhi perspective and Gandhi‟s principles of peacemaking in the specific social, political, and historical context of India.
Boulding, E. (2000). Cultures of peace: The hidden side of history. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
"The tendency of planners and policymakers to prepare for worst-case scenarios leaves societies unprepared for the opportunities involved in best-case scenarios. Nevertheless, the longing for peace has not gone away."
Cultures of Peace exposes the hidden past, present, and potential future of the many disparate societies and lifeforms making up the planet, often lovingly referred by Boulding as Gaia. Much of the popular recounting of history is told through a lense of violence that perpetuate the concept of hierarchical systems of domination and oppression. Historically patriarchal norms have not only caused untold damage to life systems and cultures but are also ingrained in the culture of much of what Boulding refers to as the "One-Third" world. Yet throughout history and up to the present there have been experiments in Utopian ideals and intentional communities, groups and movements that have mobilized for peace, nonviolence, social justice, the environment,etc., and cultures that have maintained peaceable relations both within and without their own social groups. By looking at the history of violence without the glory that is usually associated with it and uncovering the positive and peaceful historical threads that also contribute to our societies, Boulding imagines her own vision of a peaceful future. She also urges her audience to "reflect, imagine, and write down" their own visions as well. By uncovering a hidden side of history, a history that is full of women, children, minorities, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and grassroots organizations, Boulding has created a book of reference that provides an academic yet accessible look into an overlooked subject.
Boulding, K. E. (1978). Stable peace. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
"The quest for peace must be part of an evolutionary process."
Stable Peace observes the quest for peace in very practical terms. The type of peace that Kenneth Boulding, an economist and peace activist/researcher, focuses on in this book is the absence of war rather than other positive or negative manifestations associated with the term. Boulding offers a peace-war model that is based on strengths and strains; strengths leading to peaceful situations and strains leading to instances of war. In such a model, myriad variables enter into what increases the strain or strength of a given state, including memories of past oppressions, the professionalization of the military, political structures, etc. He sees the dynamic of peace as one that is evolutionary and gradual rather than, as is often popularly represented, revolutionary. His proposal for international peace policy therefore seeks to foster an evolutionary process rather than a process that seeks equilibrium. Concrete examples of his proposal include 1) removing boundaries from political agendas, 2) pursuing a "Graduated and Reciprocated Initiative in Tension Reduction" (GRIT) in which interactions between international bodies involve an indefinite cycle of actions and reactions in the form of decisions and acts, 3) exploring and practicing nonviolence, 4) transforming the military into a peacekeeping organization, 5) "national policies for strengthening the structure of world political organizations," in large part to facilitate disarmament, 6) policies geared toward nongovernmental organizations, and 7) policies emphasizing peace research. Boulding sketches policies that do not seek perfect peace between international bodies, but rather stable peace fostered by ever-evolving open and positive relationships.
Brock-Utne, B. (1985). Educating for peace: A feminist perspective. New York: Pergamon Press.
"If women are to create a more peaceful world and do away with the male institution of war we must get more power before men have destroyed our earth."
Educating for Peace approaches the idea of peace as a state of being that cannot be achieved within our current framework, which is referred to in this and many other works on peace as patriarchal. Instead, the quest for peace must be embarked upon by women, since their approach is naturally holistic, caring, and rational. The world's current societal framework rewards aggression, violence, competition, dominance, and compartmentalized knowledge and men, who are especially prone to this pattern of normative behavior due to a mixture of biological predisposition, socialization and education, are the recipients of the benefits. Women on the other hand are currently and have historically been oppressed and marginalized, both through direct and structural violence, in a system that does not reward humane concern for societal matters and ills. Historically, women have been at the forefront of peace movements. One of the best examples of this can be seen in the institution of the Nobel Peace Price, founded by Alfred Nobel who was the inventor of dynamite, but inspired by the much less recognized and more magnanimous peace figure, Bertha von Suttner. Yet women's roles in history, including the role of peace leader, has remained largely invisible. In order for peace to become a reality, Utne argues that there needs to be a paradigm shift from our current framework to one that is defined by compassion, cooperation, sharing, and other qualities that embody a positive model of peace. Women must continue to lead the charge in the quest for peace and "get power" without making concessions to the dominant and destructive patriarchal system.
Carter, A. (1992). Peace movements: International protest and world politics since 1945. New York: Longman.
“The fact that peace activity has spread to so many parts of the world suggests a growing awareness of the need to organize across national frontiers to prevent major wars and promote measures of disarmament.”
Peace Movements covers peace activities and grassroots peace groups world-wide in a variety of political and cultural contexts from 1945 to 1990, with more emphasis given to America, Canada, UK, and other European countries. Carter provides a historical and critical approach to the subject of her study on peace movements and beliefs, the global context of peace activity, the nuclear disarmament movement in North America, Europe, and the Pacific, the movement against the Vietnam War and its impact, peace protest in socialist states, pacifism, war resistance and reconciliation. She analyzes special problems facing peace movement, and attributes the increase in international peace activities to international and cultural influences, liberal principles, awareness of global environmental issues, feminist commitment and transnational networks. Carter‟s book is relevant, focused, and presents a detailed and critical assessment of a complex subject.
Cechini, R. M. (1988). Women's action for peace and justice: Christian, Buddhist and Muslim women tell their story. Maryknoll, NY: Maryknoll Sisters.
"Church Women United -- Philippines was born from the desire of Filipino Christian women to promote peace; to actively participate in creating basic conditions for a just and lasting peace in their nation."
Women's Action for Peace and Justice presents three case studies that explore local and national women‟s organizations in the Philippines, Japan and Italy for peace and justice. Six years in the making, the studies are grounded in the larger context of United Nations‟s designation of International Women‟s Year 1975, United Nations Decade for Women, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The author uses participant observation and fieldwork to gather factual data and information on women‟s organizations. The book covers the struggles for community survival for indigenous groups, the story of a union for women workers in Manila, and transnational corporations in the Philippines, Shambara Sisters and International Women‟s Year Action Group in Japan, and women‟s movement and feminist consciousness formation in Italy. It spells out women‟s “peaceless situations” and women‟s responses and action for peace and justice in Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim cultures. The book is closely observed, and the field research is integrated into an organic whole with observations, descriptions, theory, and historical studies.
Christie, D., Wagner, R., & Winter, D. (Eds.). (2001). Peace, conflict, and violence: Peace psychology for the 21st century. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Peace, Conflict, and Violence presents international perspectives on key concerns, currents, research, theory, and practice of peace psychology in the twenty-first century. The introduction traces the history of peace psychology and the research and practice that examine the psychological dimensions of conflict and violence. The four sections of the book expand and update the scope of peace psychology in the new century. “Direct Violence” covers intimate violence, anti-gay/lesbian violence, intrastate violence, nationalism and war, genocide and mass killing, weapons of mass destruction. “Structural Violence” focuses on social injustice, violence against children, women, and girls as well as human rights violations, globalization, and militarism. “Peacemaking” examines U.N. peacemaking, conflict resolution, reconciliation, and psychosocial interventions aimed at reducing the trauma of direct violence. “Peacebuilding” encompasses approaches to social justice, nonviolence, and the cultural, political, social, and economic dimensions of peace-building. The book highlights activism in peace psychology and alternatives to the problems of war, violence, and conflict. It is comprehensive, timely, and authoritative.
Dodds, F., & Pippard, T. (Eds.). (2005). Human and environmental security: An agenda for change. London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan.
“By peacebuilding, we mean the assistance to states in creating conditions for restoring security, political stability and reconciliation, building capacity for essential social services, promoting respect for human rights and sustainable democratic as well as economic development.”
Human and Environmental Security brings together the issues under discussion by the UN Secretary-General‟s High Commission on Threats, Challenges and Change and offers responses and agenda for change collected in this one volume by experts in the UN, NGOs, and other entities around the world. The agenda for change centers on the causes of insecurity that have been identified: use of force by states, intervention in humanitarian crises, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, poverty, and environmental degradation. This book emphasizes environmental issues as related to all aspects of human activity, and addresses sustainable human development in the areas of poverty, trade, climate change, migration and development, biodiversity, food and water security, and urban safety. By linking together peace and security with the environment and sustainable human development, the experts recognize that there are no national boundaries to today‟s threats and that there must be a new paradigm of global governance and international and individual cooperation so as to better fulfill the pledges made by the founding members of the UN: freedom from war, social progress, and life with dignity and “in larger freedom.”
Eisler, R. T. (1987). The chalice and the blade: Our history, our future. Cambridge, MA.: Harper & Row.
"Human evolution is now at a crossroads. Stripped to its essentials, the central human task is how to organize society to promote the survival of our species and the development of our unique potentials."
The Chalice and the Blade provides a new view of our human past that differs from traditionally accepted accounts. Based on archeological evidence from our prehistory and a look at more recent historicy through a different lens, Eisler exposes a past marked by periods of peace and prosperity. Eisler attributes these periods to the mutual partnerships experienced between men and women at a societal level, which Eisler terms gylanic. This is in opposition to currently accepted accounts of our collective experience, which is viewed through an androcratc lens that pits differences between individuals into an inferior/superior framework. Once Eisler establishes this distinction, undercurrents in history come into sharp focus. Eisler points to periods in history defined by relative peace and productivity which are a reflections of societial leanings toward gylanic relationships between men and women. By contrast, particularly dark, violent, and repressive periods of history can be correlated to androcratic societal frameworks. This brings exciting prospects for our potentially shared future as an alternative is presented that contrasts the ingrained idea that our violent history has been predetermined by our very nature. Instead, a partnership model for society, a model that is not outside of human experience but has traditionally been repressed, can be strived for. Based on our current capacity for devastating destruction and unbridled technological innovations achieved at the expense of our natural world, a quest for new societal models seems to be a requirement for the continuation of our human saga rather than an optional prospect.
Fellman, G. (1998). Rambo and the Dalai Lama: The compulsion to win and its threat to human survival. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
"An advantage the Dalai Lama offers over Rambo and the Godfather is the vision of peace and happiness realizable through sustained, difficult, and gratifying disciplines of examining the inner self and outer reality in ways that allow for changes from destructive, adversarial behavior to that of compassion, mutuality, and love."
Rambo and the Dalai Lama is a sociological and psychological expose of the human compulsion to compete with and domineer over one another in adversarial relationships. Fellman explores multiple facets of our society including politics, religion, sports, popular music and films in order to portray how adversarialism permeates our culture and threatens it at the level of global warfare. Although adversarial behavior persists deep within our interactions, institutions, and modes of thought, there are also seeds of "mutualism." Mutualism represents a shift from competition to cooperation, from perceiving people as "other" or as "enemy" to perceiving connectedness through empathy and love. Fellman offers the reader insight into this new paradigm and proposes ways to pursue more mutualistic behaviors and tendencies. One of the strengths of his analysis is the infusion of personal experience in the pursuit of overcoming his own adversarial tendencies and the mental tribulations accompanying such an undertaking. Fellman encourages exploration and experimentation both internally and externally, whether through the reappropriation of self or by looking for and fostering mutualism in our environment. Like a ripple in a pond, our own experiments in mutualism have the potential to stimulate a global paradigm shift, something that the author would like to live to see.
Galtung, J., Jacobsen C. G., & Brand-Jacobsen, K.F. (2002). Searching for peace: The road to Transcend. London; Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press in association with TRANSCEND, 2002.
“A world with peace with nature, between genders, generations and races… where classes, nations and states serve neither direct, structural nor cultural violence… all put together for a better livelihood for all.”
Searching for Peace offers a theory and practice of “peace by peaceful means” as the organization‟s (TRANSCEND) core concerns. Peace is examined in the context of what the organization considers the seven “fault lines” in human society: nature (between humans and their environment), gender, generation, race, class, exclusion, nation, and state. The book brings together the insights of leading scholars-practitioners in its 45 years of experience in peace-building and presents diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy on 45 conflicts with 45 perspectives. These conflicts include East-West Conflict during the Cold War, Israel-Palestine Conflict, Kashmir, Korea, the Gulf Conflict, the Yugoslavia Conflict 1991/95, Sri Lanka, Ecuador-Peru, Afghanistan, Hindu-Muslim Relations, the Christians and Heathens, Comfort Women, Okinawa, Inter-Class Conflict/Globalization, Inter-Generation Conflict and Sustainability, and etc. This analytical, creative, and multi-disciplinary study offers a vision of peace and defines globalization as a world of “liberation” and “wellness.”
Gottfried, T. (2004). The fight for peace: A history of anti-war movements in America. Minneapolis: 21st Century Books.
“Heed the Constitution, whose values… do not include using our position as the most formidable nation in the world to bully and intimidate other nations.” Robert Byrd
The Fight for Peace succinctly captures the fight in America between forces for war and forces for peace during times when the U.S. is engaged in war. The book traces how the colonists persecuted Quakers, Mennonites, and Brethren for refusing to fight in the American Revolution and the cruel punishment (e.g. pouring hot pine tar with chicken feathers over a victim, and clubbing, shooting, and arresting of protestors). The author highlights peace-making in the U.S., especially the founding of peace organizations, endowment, citizen participation in peace efforts. These efforts include individuals from Henry David Thoreau to Senator Robert Byrd, and organizations such as the Hague Peace Conference, the launch of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, women‟s peace-making, the Anti-Imperialist League, the establishment of U.S. Institute of Peace in the US Congress, and recent grassroots efforts such as MoveOn.org, ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice. The book offers a succinct, highly condensed history of anti-war movements with telling cartoons, photography, and caption.
Grille, R. (2005). Parenting for a peaceful world. Alexandria, New South Wales: Longueville Media.
“The key to world peace and sustainability lies in the way we collectively relate to our children.” “The human brain and heart that are met primarily with empathy in the critical early years cannot and will not grow to choose a violent or selfish life.”
Parenting for a Peaceful World fluidly presents scientific, psychological, social, historical, and cultural research on brain, emotion, child development, childrearing and connects childrearing experience with world peace and sustainability. Grille, the psychotherapist, examines childrearing and childhood in broad social, cultural contexts through history and across many cultures. He traces child‟s growth and personality in divergent societal modes: war, holocaust, religious extremism, and democratic environment. The book is of appeal to distinct groups of audiences: parents, caregiver, health professional, educators, and policy makers. Those who work directly with children can learn to be attentive to the emotional needs of children and to gain insights into their own emotional makeup for healing and growth. Policy-makers may benefit from the awareness that their decisions will impact families, and thus, the destiny of a society. Grille‟s book is well-researched, convincingly written, passionate, and compassionate.
Kapur, S. (1992). Raising up a prophet: the African-American encounter with Gandhi. Boston: Beacon Press.
“Thus, the soil which had been prepared and nurtured for a generation and more by some of the key African-American leaders was ready not only to receive the seed of nonviolence, but also to bear fruit as never before.”
Raising Up a Prophet examines African Americans‟ encounter with Gandhi and the Indian independence movement during the years 1920s to 1947, its implications, and how this may have prepared for a community and for King‟s “prophet” leadership of the nonviolence resistance movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This study traces the ways African Americans have become aware of Gandhi and satyagraha through pioneers such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, African American newspapers and journals, black leaders‟ visit to India, and the teachings, lectures, and messages of Indian Gandhians to African Americans prior to the 1950s. Based on solid and well researched evidence and sources, this study moves away from an “elite” focus on King and illustrates an approach to the study of history that recognizes the contributions of the community and ordinary people while affirming the success of the African American nonviolence movement as grounded in King‟s leadership, Christian liberating teachings, and the Gandhian nonviolence principle.
Lederach, J. P. (1997). Building peace: Sustainable reconciliation in divided societies. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
"Metaphorically, peace is seen not merely as a stage in time or a condition. It is a dynamic social construct. Such a conceptualization requires a process of building, involving investment and materials, architectural desigh, and coordination of labor, laying of a foundation, and detailed finish work, as well as continuing maintenance."
Building Peace constructs a framework for sustained peace efforts in societies divided by various forms of conflict and offers tangible ways of functioning through it, which have been mostly underutilized in mainstream peace processes to this point. In order to do this, Lederach, a peace scholar and practitioner to multiple conflicts throughout the world, proposes a holistic and integrative approach to peacebuilding. Structurally, there should be involvement at the grassroots leadership level of conflicts by local leaders and community developers, middle-range authorities including scholars and humanitarian leaders of nongovernmental organizations, and top level leaders in politics, religious institutions, and the military. Lederach proposes that the middle range leadership in this model is optimally positioned to work for long term sustained peacebuilding efforts. Also, consideration should be given to the specific conflicts, the relationships between conflicting parties, and the larger systems which are responsible in part for fostering conflicts. It is proposed that subsystems, or microcosms of the system at large, provide an excellent middle way for peacebuilding that is positioned between the smaller conflict and the larger system. Another important component of the peacebuilding framework is approaching the conflict as a process that is dynamic and progressive over a period of time which needs to be conceptualized so that various strategies and actions are deployed by facilitators filling diverse roles. Of extreme importance is the need for reconciliation, where opposing parties are allowed to have the appropriate time and space required to address and heal historical grievances that may run extremely deep into the structure of the divided societies. Innovation and creativity are needed for relationship building between the parties, as often times this component is not treated with the import needed for long term sustained peace. Of course resources are also required, but perhaps more important is the need for the infrastructure to utilize the resources optimally. Finally, coordination across the framework is necessary if peacebuliding is to be sustained. Overall, Lederach proposes a comprehensive approach for peacemakers that takes into account the broader picture of peacebuilding, but also coordinates and focuses efforts toward specific conflicts.
Lovelock, J. (1979). Gaia: A new look at life on earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"There can be no prescription, no set of rules, for living within Gaia. For each of our different actions, there are only consequences."
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth is the first presentation in book form of the Gaia Hypothesis. The hypothesis, which is extremely contentious to this day, originated from James Lovelock's work with NASA to produce life detecting instruments for use in the exploration of Mars. Lovelock's hypothesis stems from the observation that the Earth's atmosphere contains elements that are in "violation of the rules of chemistry," which indicates that the maintenance of its dis-equilibrium relies on a complex system of interaction with the world of which it is an extension; comparable to an organism's hair or feathers. The hypothesis, simply put, proposes that the earth acts as a living organism that maintains equilibrium through the interconnectedness of its biota, oceans, geological makeup, and atmosphere. This new proposal brings with it the idea that we, as senient, intelligent beings who are increasingly becoming a larger part of the biota that makes up the world, bear responsibility for the inevitable consequences of our actions and interactions that are a part of a much large system.
Macy, J., & Brown, M. Y. (1998). Coming back to life: Practices to reconnect our lives, our world. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society.
“To let ourselves feel anguish and disorientation as we open our awareness to global suffering is a part of our spiritual ripening.”
Coming Back to Life elucidates the principle that everyone and everything is interconnected, not only via traditions in religion, spirituality, and indigenous cultures, but also through discussions of systems theories that have been increasingly coming to light in recent scientific research, philosophical inquiry, and movements in deep ecology. According to Macy and Brown, we are currently at a Great Turning Point, for which we are preparing to shift from the current Industrial Growth Society into a Life-sustaining Society. That is to say, we are waking up from our current hierarchical, anthropocentric, competition based model of being so that we may move toward a cooperative, compassionate, natural model. The immediacy of the need for this to happen is palpable, since we are increasingly seeing and accepting the oppression, poison, destruction, death, and despair that is resulting from our current way of life. As a society and as individuals, we are avoiding painful realities in the world around us; but this is not a hopeless state of affairs. In order to facilitate this transition, it is time to work to reconnect our lives and minds to the reality around us. The second half of this book is thankfully dedicated to detailing guided workshops that are directed toward uncovering and dealing with the pain that ensues from regaining a compassionate mind for our world.
Midgley, M. (1984). Animals and why they matter. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
"Science is not just an intellectual game, carried on among a set of human players. It is a genuine attempt to explore the universe. Among the parts of that universe which are within our reach, the other animal species which share our planet with us are a most significant part. They are not just put there as a convenience for us, neither are they just an oppressed minority in human life. They are the group to which we belong. We are a small minority of them. It seems reasonable to suggest that we ought to take them seriously."
Animals and Why They Matter is a concise philosophical inquiry into animal rights. Midgley discusses past philosophical and scientific insights and draws connections between the kind of logical arguments that neglect the rights of nonhuman animals and those that in the past have led to the neglect of rights in human matters (e.g. racism and sexism). It is a natural phenomenon to have a stronger sense of compassion and ethical obligation to those with stronger associations to oneself, but to deny another being's rights based on individual kinship is not an ethically sound system of action. Although Midgley is concerned with this largely neglected topic, she does not take a stance that is absolutist on either end of the spectrum, whether it be as extreme as Descartes' argument that animals lack a soul and are therefore simply machines, or whether it be an activist's stance which allots nonhuman animals the same rights as humans. Instead, the topic is broached so that it can be addressed both rationally and humanely without disregarding emotional or anthropomorphic tendencies as irrelevant to the question of our ethical obligations as stewards to the animal kingdom.
Nagler, M. N. (2004). The search for a nonviolent future: A promise of peace for ourselves, our families, and our world. Maui, HI: Inner Ocean Publishing.
"The task is to create loving community, and the way to understand and address that is through nonviolence. Whoever we are, there is a way to do this."
The Search for a Nonviolent Future deeply explores nonviolence and its utility for healing and humanizing our modern and violent world. Michael Nagler, a long-time peace scholar and nonviolent activist, reveals stories, incidents and acts of nonviolence that are both constructive (e.g. community building) and obstructive (i.e. nonviolent resistance) in order to show his audience that while nonviolence may not always "work" to produce immediate or expected results, it always works, having "a long-term positive effect on the whole system." The author conceives nonviolence not as an abstract concept, but as an active agent to produce a paradigm shift to replace our very violent, but altogether man-made, present with nonviolence. Such a big idea would seem daunting if it weren't for the action guide provided for the reader to begin this task on an individual level. The steps recommended include avoiding mass media and replacing it with alternative media, taking "care of yourself spiritually," rebuilding kind human relationships, nonviolence education, and actively building peace. This book provides excellent insight for anyone grappling with various aspects of nonviolence, or doubt its simple but powerful meaning.
Nhema, A. G. (Ed.). (2004). The quest for peace in Africa: Transformations, democracy and public policy. Utrecht, Netherlands: IB (International Books); Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: OSSREA.
“Africa‟s main overriding concern is the attainment of durable peace that can create a foundation for development and a better life for the continent‟s populace.”
The Quest for Peace in Africa looks deeply at the nature and sources of conflicts in Africa and looks for solutions to lasting peace on a continent plagued by war, where both development and human existence are in great threat. The book sees the major conflicts as rooted in intrastate and interstate strife, poverty and economic inequality, and the exclusionary political system that does not allow participatory arrangement. It critically analyzes the successes and failures in several case studies of African countries in applying strategies and mechanisms to manage and resolve conflicts, the practice in democratic participatory government, and in public policy that addresses inequality, poverty, social justice, and basic human rights. While championing for Western ideals of democracy and public policy, the book recognizes that Africa‟s attempts are far from successful; it also calls for intimate understanding of the sources of conflicts in Africa and for homegrown solutions to conflicts and socio-economic problems in order to build lasting peace, democracy, and justice in Africa. The book is well researched, objective, and reveals the truth on the challenges facing Africa.
Oberschall, A. (2007). Conflict and peace building in divided societies. London and New York: Routledge.
“Peace building rests on security, political reform, truth and justice, and social and economic reconstruction.”
Conflict and Peace Building in Divided Societies sheds light on a sociologist‟s probe into conflicts and peace building in ethnically divided societies. It reveals the dynamics of ethnic conflicts, and the complexity of warfare as a mix of insurgence, terrorism, human rights violation, conventional war, guerrilla war, and organized crime. It analyzes external peace interventions (the Red Cross, UN, NATO, etc.) in ethnic conflicts and their limitations. The book offers in-depth and objective study of conflicts and the peace process, with no easy-solution, no false optimism or illusion, towards war and conflict as found in Bosnia, Israel-Palestine, and in Northern Ireland. The author concludes the book by making an analogy of ethnic government and group relations to international sports, and recommending more cooperative, more peaceful characteristics, power sharing, constitutional reform, diversity and autonomy. Drawing from decades of Oberschall‟s expertise and research on peace building and ethnic, cultural, sectarian conflicts, this study is methodical, thorough, current, analytical, and comprehensive.
Peck, M. S. (1987). The different drum: Community-making and peace. New York: Simon and Schuster.
"To follow the drum of community making and peace is to march to vibrations very different from those of the drum of war-making."
The Different Drum defines community in a very specific and real sense and outlines concrete examples and ways to make communities at various levels in society. Community, according to Peck, achieves status as a true community when it is inclusive, has integrity, is contemplative, is able to arrive at consensus, and allows for conflict based in love and understanding. In order to attain this level of community, a group must go through stages including pseudocommunity, or an acting out of community that is faked by its participants, chaos, emptiness, when prejudices and preconceptions are broken down, and finally community. Peck realizes that we are lacking this real sense of community at a societal level, due in large part to structural underpinnings of undisciplined individualism, and that we are in desperate need of it. The idea is not to homogenize the plurality of our world, but rather to strive for integration in which plurality is embraced. Peck not only discusses transformative ways to achieve community at local levels but also ways to perceive larger institutions, such as the arms race, the government, and religion from a community making perspective. The reader is given new insights into our current social and mental constructs as well as practical and optimistic inroads to a peaceful future.
Pepinsky, H. E., & Quinney, R. (1991). Criminology as peacemaking. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
"What is the obvious connection between crime and war? Crime is violence. So is punishment, and so is war." -Harold Pepinsky
Criminology as Peacemaking provides a collection of essays from various perspectives on criminal justice as it stands currently, what is wrong with it, and ways to create a system based on reconcilliation and peacemaking in the future. The book is divided into three different sections: Religious and Humanist Peacemaking Traditions, Feminist Peacemaking Traditions and Women's Experience, and Critical Peacemaking Traditions. One might think that starting with a religious section in a book dedicated to criminology might be a little odd, but as Pepensky explains in his closing remarks, it was arranged in this way to provide prospects of hope for an anxiety inducing subject. And although the contributors do discuss the topic from various perspectives and use contrasting parlance, common themes emerge that the authors share. Criminal justice as it is practiced uses means of violence, such as punishment, retribution, and objectification to create a system where the person who committed the criminal act is equated with the act itself. This has been proven not to work and ends up actually perpetuating criminal behavior and violence. This is not something that is only present in criminal elements, it is echoed and mirrored throughout our society to the highest levels of government, in which dominance, competition, and war are weaved into its fabric. Criminology as peacemaking on the other hand requires a restructuring of society and the manner in which we all interact with one another. This anthology calls for building positive peace and to rectify our situation by looking at criminality and violence in a different light, through mutualism, mediation, reconciliation, individual inner peace, inclusion rather than exclusion, and community building and action. Although these ideas seem utopian and visionary, their concrete applications can be seen through such programs as the Alternatives to Violence Project in prisons, and the Safer Society Program which focuses on prevention. This book provides a framework for deep thought, shaping new perspectives, and approaching potential solutions on a problem in which reconciliation and peace is required rather than isolation and retribution.
Porter, E. (2007). Peacebuilding: women in international perspective. London; New York: Routledge.
“Peacebuilding involves all processes that build positive relationships, heal wounds, reconcile antagonistic differences, restore esteem, respect rights, meet basic needs, enhance equality, instill feelings of security, empower moral agency and are democratic, inclusive, and just.”
Peacebuilding offers lessons and best practices of peacebuilding rooted in the historic UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security (2000). The book recognizes “informal,” “ad hoc” women‟s peacebuilding practices that the author believes are largely unacknowledged, and focuses on women living in war zones or in societies that are transiting from violence towards peace and democracy. Drawing from multiple disciplines such as peace and conflict studies, international relations, political theory and feminist ethics, Porter broadens the understanding of peacebuilding as a process that includes pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict stages and offers stories, examples, and analysis of women‟s peacemaking role: as nurturer of relationships, families, communities, and as peace activists, mediators, trauma healing counselors, policymakers, educators and group facilitators, humanitarian aid workers or peacekeepers. While Peacbuilding recognizes the contribution of women in post 9/11 international context, it also challenges the reality where women are not well represented in “formal” peacemaking, decision-making, policy-making roles and that the mandates in SCR 1325 have not been systematically implemented.
Rosenberg, M. B. (2000). Nonviolent communication: A language of life. Encinitas, CA: Puddle Dancer Press.
“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.”
Nonviolent Communication makes a contribution to peace-making by demonstrating practical, nonviolent communication techniques. Though not dealing with war, fighting, and other forms of physical violence surrounding national and international politics, this book brings in the understanding and practices of Rosenberg as a psychologist who focuses on human emotion, psychology, and human relationships in daily lives and in the world. For Rosenberg, compassion is the heart of nonviolent communication. The book covers communication that blocks compassion, distinguishes observations from judgment/ comparison/ evaluation/ denial of responsibility, the protective use of force, the power of empathy, connecting compassionately with others, and distinguishing between the type of communication that create barriers and blockage with those that create understanding and compassion. This book is popular in nature, partly clinical, and provides specific examples of dialog, language use, and nuances in emotional communication.
Schumacher, E. F. (1975). Small is beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. New York: Harper & Row.
"Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful."
Small Is Beautiful looks deeply into current economics and large-scale development, focusing on the deterioration and wholesale waste of human and ecological resources that it causes. According to Schumacher, developed countries are driven by a materialistic cycle of limitless greed and unquenchable envy. The inevitable result is alienation, urban decay, empty rural lands, stagnant masses of poor people, and ecological devastation. In order to address these modern problems, Schumacher seeks practical solutions via metaphysical, Buddhist, Christian, and Gandhian principles. He unfolds a qualitative and humane economic point of view that defies current quantitative economic theories based solely on mass production and consumption. His ideas and solutions are both inspiring and practical. Schumacher focuses on the real need to "reconstruct rural culture," promote education that envelopes metaphysics into its curriculum and seeks to clarify our "central convictions," sustain our natural resources, aid developing countries with intermediate technologies to increase local self reliance, and balance small scale freedom in organizations with large scale orderliness. Summarily speaking, this work is about shifting our current economic "emphasis from goods to people," making "peace and permanence" a realizable goal for the future.
Sharp, G. (2005). Waging nonviolent struggle: 20th century practice and 21st century potential. Boston: Extending Horizons Books.
"In a world of many acute conflicts, widespread oppression, and great violence, the technique of nonviolent struggle has considerable potential to be applied with success than ever before in a wide range of situations."
Waging Nonviolent Struggle is an in-depth investigation into the power of nonviolent action in various conflicts, and the potential of that power when strategically applied. The book begins with a brief overview of the meaning of nonviolent struggle (e.g. it has to do with action rather than belief) as well as some misconceptions (e.g. nonviolence does not equate to passivity), how it works against institutions of power, and the various methods, relying greatly on historical instances, of how nonviolent action is and has been practiced. Part two of the book contains historical cases, which Sharp readily admits are examples that were not always successful, not always absent of violence, and often devoid of strategic planning. What these cases provide is an insight into nonviolent struggle in its various forms and against its various opponents, and how these struggles have played out in the past. Part three and four of the book could be said to be the heart of the book, since it provides analysis into the dynamics of nonviolent struggle as well as strategic ways to wage this kind of struggle. This book is fascinating in that it provides an academic foundation for study, practice, and future research into waging nonviolent struggle, much like one might expect from the disciplined study of military science which espouses the methods of violence for engaging in conflicts.
Tomkinson, L. (1940). Studies in the theory and practice of peace and war in Chinese history and literature. Shanghai: Published for the Friends' Centre, by Christian Literature Society.
“… harmony within the individual‟s personality, harmony with the whole human family, harmony with the universe, such is the ultimate peace which has been through the ages the objective of Chinese pacifism.”
Studies in the Theory and Practice of Peace and War in Chinese History and Literature is Tomkinson‟s response to the controversy in the West as to whether the Chinese were a peace-loving people during the civil and anti-imperialist wars in the 1930s China. The author explores Chinese thought on pacifism, war and peace by examining Chinese classics. His study provides a brief historical sketch of the Chinese as warriors and in-depth analysis of pacifism in various classicl thoughts: pacifism as practical ethics among the Confucianists, as cosmological worldview in Daoism, and as political expedient in the Mehists. His study also covers the militarism of the legalists, the pacifist influence of Buddhism, anti-war poetry as represented in such classical Chinese poets as Du Fu, and other historical factors and types in Chinese pacifism. This study recognizes the aversion to war in Chinese classics and the understanding of “peace as harmony.”
Van der Merwe, H. W. (1989). Pursuing justice and peace in South Africa. London and New York: Routledge.
“The pursuit of justice and peace is not an objective academic exercise. It is motivated by a subjective desire to build a better society.”
Pursuing Justice and Peace in South Africa is at once a work of political philosophy, humanitarian vision, and social scientific study that illuminates the problems of South Africa and that offers hope and strategies for building social justice, equality, conciliation and peace. A social scientist, mediator, and Quaker, Van der Merwe rejects violent solutions and proposes the dual-goal of peace-making that promotes justice as the ideals for society. Van der Merwe‟s book analyzes the nature of stratification, inequality, conflicting ideologies and violence in South Africa as well as both negative and constructive approaches to conflict. He empathetically supports the use of constructive approaches such as negotiation, communication, consultation,
co-option, facilitation, mediation and third-party intervention as responses to differing social, political circumstances. With lucidity, clarity, and a moral conviction, Van der Merwe‟s book recognizes the challenges and need for restructuring the social and political institutions in South Africa in order to obtain justice and peace.
Zinn, H. (2001). Howard Zinn on war. New York: Seven Stories Press.
"It seems that once an initial judgment has been made that a war is just, there is a tendency to stop thinking, to assume then that everything done on behalf of victory is morally acceptable."
On War anthologizes essays by historian and peace activist Howard Zinn that provide an alternative and comprehensive perspective on war and other atrocities that have occured throughout our violent history. Through historical research and analysis with a personal perspective keen on uncovering the atrocities of war and violence, the audience is able to look back through history in a different light. One is able to see war without the propaganda and rhetorical justifications that allow us to accept the wholesale killing and destruction of peoples and lands for the greed and profit of those who seek or wish to maintain their power. Some of the more moving moments are when the reader is taken from the perspective of the aggressors into that of the victims, as is the case in his analysis of the bombing of Royan, a catastrophic incident in which Howard Zinn was a bombardier. After reading this brutally revealing collection of essays, one can't help but be moved, perhaps with anger, perhaps with sorrow, hopefully with an urgent sense that war is not a necessary means for all ends.