What does the term “Peace Studies” mean?

Peace studies is an old and well-developed subject with many aspects to choose from.  What’s new and exciting about peace studies is that in the last twenty years it has become clear to thousands of us that the time has arrived, that world communications and world knowledge have reached the points both of feasibility and inevitability, so the responsibility to take it home has become personal for each of us.

Peace studies as an area of social studies contains developmental psychology, cognitive behavior therapy, philosophy, history, pedagogy, sociology, international law, broadening documents like the Earth Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, global agreements, techniques of negotiation, and in the very center, ecology and women’s studies.

It is seen increasingly as the broadening pool where the ripples of science and the ripples of spiritual studies intersect.  There is no need to study all of it, so you can find your vocation within the subject and follow that.

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Following are three excerpts from three peace studies resources.

Here is table of contents for “A Global Security System : An Alternative to War” published by  (¶ means section heading, numbers mean page numbers)

8. A vision of peace

¶9. Introduction : A blueprint for ending war —

10. The work of Word Beyond War

¶11. Why is a global security system both desirable and necessary? —

11. The iron cage of war : The present war system described

14. The benefits of an alternative system

15. The necessity of an alternative system — war fails to bring peace

16. War is becoming ever more destructive

17. The world is facing an environmental crisis

¶19. Why we think a peace system is possible —

19. There is already more peace in the world than war

19. We have changed major systems in the past

20. We live in a rapidly changing world

20. The perils of patriarchy are challenged

21. Compassion and cooperation are part of the human condition

22. The importance of structures of war and peace

22. How systems work

23. An alternative system is already developing

24. Nonviolence: The foundation of peace

¶26. Outline of an Alternative Security System —

26. Common security

26. Demilitarizing security

27. Shift to a non-provocative defense posture

27. Create a non-violent, civilian-based defense force

29. Phase out foreign military bases

29. Disarmament

30. Conventional weapons

31. Outlaw the Arms Trade

32. End the use of militarized drones

33. Phase out weapons of mass destruction

33. Nuclear weapons

36. Chemical and biological weapons

37. Outlaw weapons in outer space

37. End invasions and occupations

38. Realign military spending : Economic conversion to civilian needs

40. Reconfigure the response to terrorism

42. Dismantle military alliances

43. The role of women in peace and security

44. Managing international and civil conflicts

44. Shifting to a pro-active posture

44. Strengthening international institutions and regional alliances

45. Reforming the United Nations

46. Reforming the charter to more effectively deal with aggression

46. Reforming the Security Council

48. Provide adequate funding

48. Forecasting and managing conflicts : Conflict management

50. Reform the General Assembly

50. Strengthening the International Court of Justice

51. Strengthening the International Criminal Court

53. Non-violent intervention : Civilian peacekeeping forces

54. International law

54. Encourage compliance with existing treaties

55. Create new treaties

56. Create stable, fair, sustainable global economy as foundation for peace

57. Democratize international economic institutions (WTO, IMF, etc.)

58. Create environmentally sustainable global aid plan

58. A proposal for starting over : democratic citizen’s global parliament

59. Inherent problems with collective security

59. The Earth Federation

60. The rôle of global civil society

60. The rôle of international non-government organizations —

¶62. Creating a culture of peace

63. Telling a new story

65. The unprecedented peace revolution of modern times

67. Debunking old myths about war

71. Planetary citizenship : one people, one planet, one peace

72. Spreading and funding peace education and peace research

73. Cultivating peace journalism

76. Encouraging the work of peaceful religious initiatives

¶78. Accelerating the transition to an alternative security system —

80. Educating the many and the decision- and opinion-makers

81. Nonviolent direct action campaigns

82. The alternative global security system concept : a movement building tool

¶84. Conclusion —

¶86. Appendix —

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Here is a table of contents for David P. Barash. Approaches to Peace : A Reader in Peace Studies. Third Edition

Each Chapter ends with Study Questions and Suggestions for Further Reading.


Introduction: Approaches to Approaches to Peace

Chapter 1: Understanding War

1. Why War?, Sigmund Freud

2. On Aggression, Konrad Z. Lorenz

3. Warfare Is Only an Invention–Not a Biological Necessity, Margaret Mead

4. War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges

5. War and Other Essays, William Graham Sumner

6. Victims of Groupthink, Irving Janis

7. The Causes of War, Michael Howard

8. National Images and International Systems, Kenneth Boulding

9. The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington

10. Resource Competition in the 21st Century, Michael T. Klare

11. Battlefields of the Future, Peter Singer

12. The Revisionist Imperative: Rethinking Twentieth-Century Wars,

Andrew J. Bacevich

Chapter 2: Building “Negative Peace”

1. The Moral Equivalent of War, William James

2. Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

3. Disarmament Demands GRIT, Charles Osgood

4. Ten Nuclear Myths, David Krieger and Angela McCrackien

5. A World Free of Nuclear Weapons, George P. Shultz, William J. Perry,

Henry A. Kissinger, and Sam Nunn

6. A Powerful Peace, Jonathan Schell

7. Nuclear Proliferation: History and Lessons, Volha Charnysh

8. Transforming the War Economy into the Peacekeeping Economy, Lloyd J. Dumas

9. International Law, David P. Barash

10. Just War Doctrine, from Catholic Answers

11. An Insider’s Guide to the UN, Linda Fasulo

12. World Government?, David P. Barash

13. Violence Vanquished, Steven Pinker

14. Life Without War, Douglas P. Fry

Chapter 3: Responding to Terrorism

1. Terrorism Past and Present, RAND Corporation

2. The Evil Scourge of Terrorism: Reality, Construction, Remedy, Noam Chomsky

3. Terrorism: Theirs and Ours, Eqbal Ahmad

4. The U.S. Response to Terrorism, Haviland Smith

5. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Robert Pape

6. Clarifying the Meaning of Jihad, Ali Gomaa

Chapter 4: Building “Positive Peace”

1. The Land Ethic, Aldo Leopold

2. Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Al Gore

3. The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire

4. Global Economic Solidarity, Jeffrey Sachs

5. Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. Human Rights, David P. Barash

Chapter 5: Nonviolence

1. Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau

2. Letter to Ernest Howard Crosby, Leo Tolstoy

3. Conscientious Objector, Edna St. Vincent Millay

4. Neither Victims Nor Executioners, Albert Camus

5. Ahimsa, or the Way of Nonviolence, Mohandas Gandhi

6. Seeking a Solution to the Problem of War, Gene Sharp

7. Soft Power, Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

Chapter 6: Peace Movements, Transformation, and the Future

1. On Humane Governance, Richard Falk

2. Sexism and the War System, Betty Reardon

3. A Human Approach to World Peace, Dalai Lama

4. No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu

5. Vision: Revolution Is as Unpredictable and Beautiful as Spring, Rebecca Solnit

6. Antiwar Activists, Where Are You?, Victoria Bonney


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Here is a Table of Contents for David C. Korten. The Great Turning : From Empire to Earth Community. (People Centered Development Forum, 2006) (Also preceded by some prefatory material from the book.)

The Great Turning — “Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning.

—Joanna Macy, cf. (

By what name will our children and our children’s children call our time? Will they speak in anger and frustration of the Great Unraveling, when profligate consumption led to an accelerating wave of collapsing environmental systems, violent competition for the planet’s resources, a dramatic dieback of the human population, and a fragmentation of those who remained into warring fiefdoms ruled by ruthless local lords?

Or will they look back in joyful celebration on the noble time of the Great Turning, when their forbears turned crisis into opportunity, embraced the higher-order potential of their human nature, learned to live in creative partnership with one another and the living earth, and brought forth a new era of human possibility?

It is the premise of The Great Turning : From Empire to Earth Community that we humans stand at a defining moment that presents us with an irrevocable choice. Our collective response will determine how our time is remembered for so long as the human species survives. In the days now at hand, we must each be clear that every individual and collective choice we make is a vote for the future we of this time will bequeath to the generations that follow. The Great Turning is not a prophecy; it is a possibility.

Preamble to the The Earth Charter

We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile,, the future at once holds great peril ad great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

Table of Contents

Part I: Choosing our Future 25

1. The Choice 27

2. The Possibility 41

3. The Imperative 57

4. The Opportunity 74

Part II: Sorrows of Empire 91

5. When God was a Woman 93

6. Ancient Empire 109

7. Modern Empire 126

8. Athenian Experiment 142

Part III: America, The Unfinished Project 157

9. Inauspicious Beginning 159

10. People Power Rebellion 171

11. Empire’s Victory 181

12. Struggle for Justice 201

13. Wake-Up Call 217

14. Prisons of the Mind 237

Part IV: The Great Turning 251

15. Beyond Strict Father -vs- Aging Clock 253

16. Creation’s Epic Journey 267

17. Joys of Earth Community 281

18. Stories for a New Era 302

Part V: Birthing Earth Community 313

19. Leading from Below 315

20. Building a Political Majority 327

21. Liberating Creative Potential 341

22. Change the Story, Change the Future 354

notes 361

index 380

about the author 401