@ 2004Journalof PeaceResearch, vol. 41, no. 5, 2004, pp. 531-548 Thousand Oaks,CA (London, SagePublications and New Delhi) www.sagepublications.com DOI 10.1177/0022343304045974 ISSN 0022-3433
Assessing the Basis for a Culture of Peace in Contemporary Societies*
JOSEPH DE RIVERA
Department of Psychology,Clark University
The cultureof peace promoted bythe United Nations may providea set of global norms that areneeded for a peaceful world. However, the bases for the culture that is advocated rest on a liberal conception ratherthan empiricaldata. Does empirical evidence support the coherence of these bases, or are there flaws in how the culture of peace is conceived?In an attempt to answer this question, objective indicators were selected torepresenteach of the presumed bases for a culture of peace. These indicators were correlatedwith one another,and a factor analysisexamined the extent to which the data cohered and could be accounted for by a single 'peacefulness' factor.The resultssuggest that four differentpeace factors need to be distinguished.These are correlatedwith different indices of peace and may be used to assesstherelativepeacefulnessof different nation-states.The data, together with a considerationof the literatureon peaceful cultures, suggest that a global culture of peace may requirethe development of an additional base that is not mentioned in the United Nations' programof action.
In 1999, the GeneralAssemblyof the United Nations launched a program of action to build a culture of peace for theworld's children (UN resolution A/53/243). Based on earlierwork by UNESCO, the resolution clearly had much more in mind than the 'negative peace' reflected by an absence of war,civil disturbance,and murder.Rather,it also envisaged a 'positive peace' of justice, tolerance, and plenty. This intention was clearlymanifested in the programof action the delegates designed to bring about a culture ofpeace. This program addressed
eight different bases for a culture of peace. These were as follows:
(1) Education (and especially,educationfor the peaceful resolutionof conflict) (2) Sustainable development (viewed as involving the eradication of poverty, reduction of inequalities, and environmental sustainability) (3) Human rights (4) Gender equality (5) Democratic participation (6)Understanding,tolerance,and solidarity (among peoples, vulnerablegroups, and migrants within the nation and among nations) * The author would like to for expresshis appreciation (7) Participatorycommunication and the the thoughtful and helpful suggestionsof three anonyfree flow of information mous refereesand JPR editor Nils PetterGleditsch.The data used in this analysis can be found at (8) Internationalpeaceand security(includhttp://www.prio.no/jpr/datasets.asp. Correspondenceredisarmament and various positive ing garding the article should be sent to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. initiatives)
of PEACE RESEARCH
volume 41 / number5 /september 2004
It may be observedthat these components unite the major social movements of our time: the movements for peace,human rightsand tolerance,genderequality,democracy and open communication, global economic justice, and a sustainableenvironment. Implicit in the uniting of these components under the rubric of a culture of peace is that they form a coherent whole, a culturalbasisfor peace as contrastedwith the culture needed for war. However, as the concept made its way throughthe UN establishment, therewas norigorousexamination of this assumption. Further,the intellectual underpinnings of the concept became somewhat obscured by ideological conflict and the necessity for political compromise. Yet,althoughthe concept today may be more a political vision than an analytictool, it is a concept that stems from serious reflection and merits scholarlyattention. The question addressedin this article is whether the...