Title Menu - The International Journal of Peace Studies.  
Return to Table of Contents Return to I J P S Home


Chadwick F. Alger

It is a pleasure to write an introduction to the first issue of the The International Journal of Peace Studies, initiated by the Global Political Economy Study Commission of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA). It is especially satisfying to contribute to an issue of this new Journal which has articles by four scholars, and friends, who have contributed so much to peace research, and to the development of a worldwide peace research community: Birgit Brock-Utne, John Burton, Johan Galtung, and Paul Smoker. Impressive has been their sustained commitment to research propelled by a vision of a better world. I have learned a great deal from all of them.


This journal should facilitate communication and dialogue among members of IPRA, and between them and others with common interests. As a former Secretary General of IPRA (1983-1987), and earlier a member of the Governing Council, I am deeply aware that difficulties in communicating and conducting dialogue during the two years between our biannual conferences has greatly diminished the potential of our IPRA community. Hopefully this journal will help to correct this deficiency.

It has always been an IPRA goal to strive to achieve the maximum possible diversity in its community. We cannot fulfill our mission unless we contribute peace research, and peace education, that is relevant to all of humanity. Of course, this cannot be achieved unless voices from the whole world are to be found in our community. All members of IPRA know that we have from the beginning struggled to create a truly global community but have never fully succeeded. Indeed, we still have only token membership and participation from Africa and Latin America. With the exception of Japan, involvement from Asia is also very limited. Will this journal replicate existing patterns of IPRA memberships, or will it open the road to greater diversity? This is a question which must be given high priority by those responsible for this initiative. What a blessing it would be if it would offer a breakthrough, leading to 7truly global communication and dialogue for the IPRA community. It is promising that the editor, Ho-Won Jeong, has roots in Korea, outside the traditional centers for IPRA membership; and that the Managing Editor, Cheng-Feng Shih is located in Taipei.

On this occasion, as peace researchers endeavor to strengthen their global community, it is useful to note briefly a few events in the emergence. of this community. The first issue of the International Newsletter on Peace Research (later to become the International Peace Research Newsletter, now in its 33rd volume) appeared in the Winter of 1963, edited by Elise Boulding for the International Consultative Committee on Peace Research and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Noted in this issue was the founding of the Gandhi Peace foundation in 1958, focused mainly on the study of Gandhian techniques and their effect on public policy in fields such as: the role of women in the freedom movement, the role of non-violence in society, application of Gandhian techniques to criminology, religious toleration, economics of decentralization, and direct action for democracy. Also noted was the creation, in 1959, of a Division for Research on Conflict and Peace in the Oslo Institute for Social Research (later to become International Peace Research Institute Oslo, or PRIO) by Johan Galtung; and founding of the Canadian Peace Research Institute in 1961 by Norman Alcock: "to conduct research into the causes and prevention of war, and the relief of international tensions."

John Burton was present at a summer 1963 meeting that led to the founding of IPRA. This meeting was held at Clarens, Switzerland for scientists concerned with peace by the American and British Friends Service Committees. (International Newsletter on Peace Research, Vol. 1, No. 3) John had already begun his long journey from the Australian Foreign Office to a scholarly career in pursuit of multidisciplinary insights on "conflicts which are deeply-rooted in human needs, and which frequently require major environmental and policy restructuring for their resolution." He has creatively developed procedures for bringing these insights to bear in face-to-face meetings between scholars and parties involved in conflict. He has thereby moved the frontiers of conflict resolution research and practice to concern for "conflict provention", which consists of "steps to remove sources of conflict, and more positively to promote conditions in which collaborative and valued relationships control behaviors." (Burton, 1990). The Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference of IPRA, held in Groningen in July 1965, contain papers by both Johan Galtung and Paul Smoker. Beginning with his insistence that positive peace--and its opposite, structural violence--must be on our agenda, Johan Galtung has continually pushed the boundaries of peace research to encompass all of the dimensions of peace. His broad peace paradigm is eloquently displayed in The True Worlds. He first clearly defines "world goals" and "preferred worlds." After analyzing factors that inhibit their achievement, he then describes needed global institutions, and concludes with a chapter on "Individual Activation" which provides "tasks for everybody." (Galtung, 1980) This last chapter offers a challenge to which peace researchers have not yet offered adequate responses.

At the Inaugural Conference of IPRA, Paul Smoker presented "An Empirical Study of an International Integration Sub-System." In this first issue of our new Journal, he has joined Linda Groff in writing "Spirituality, Religion, Culture, and Peace: Exploring the Foundations for Inner-Outer Peace in the Twenty-First Century." In between he has contributed work on accidental nuclear war and computer applications in peace studies. Here we have a scholar skilled in more rigorous social science research methods whose research is in continual dialogue with peace values and preferred futures. His broad view of our enterprise is reflected in A Reader in Peace Studies (1990). Paul was Secretary General of IPRA from 1991 to 1994.

My first IPRA contact was at the Second IPRA Conference in Tallberg, Sweden in 1967. The intellectual challenge from confronting for the first time the diversity of approaches to peace, and of definitions of peace, to be found in IPRA was overwhelming. Particularly striking was my discovery of how much broader the peace research agenda was in Europe, particularly Scandinavia, as compared to that in the United States. But even more dramatic was my first exposure to peace research colleagues from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Of course, we acquire a special kind of learning from those that share our distant goals but who, because of their radically different life circumstances, must take different paths toward these goals. Contributions to this meeting included Johan Galtung's agenda-setting "Entropy and the general theory of peace,"; "Human malnutrition, poverty and conflict generation" (O. Bassir); Peace research and educational problems" (Ch. Boasson); "Peacelessness and Maldevelopment" (S. Dasgupta); "Social asymmetries and world peace" (M. Haas); "International solidarity and Economic inequality" (T. Kawata); and "Poverty and Peace" (B.V.A. Roling).

Eventually it would be women peace researchers who would sharpen our capacity to perceive the roots of militarism, violence, and other forms of peacelessness, within our own families, neighborhoods, schools, churches and professions. Birgit Brock-Utne has played a critical role in bringing the perspectives of women, into the peace research community. Particularly instructive has been her insistence that peace education must be extended beyond formal schooling, into family relationships, decisions about physical activity, and selection of toys and games. At the same time, she has challenged transnational women's movements to define peace more carefully, and more broadly, as in her analysis of the implied definitions of peace in the UN Women's Conferences in Mexico, Copenhagen and Nairobi. (Brock-Utne, 1989)

The contributions of these peace research scholars capture the distinctive essence of peace research which distinguishes it from disciplines such as international relations, and the mainstream of other social science disciplines. Peace research is not satisfied with only describing and explaining what has already happened, or in only predicting what may happen in the future. In addition, peace research strives to illuminate how visions of preferred futures can be achieved. At the same time, peace research seeks to draw broadly on all resources relevant to the achievement of preferred futures. To achieve this challenging task peace research must position itself to draw on a diversity of resources by placing itself at the intersection of a diversity of kinds of peace knowledge, peace perspectives and peace actors. In other words, peace researchers must be at the crossroads--not one, but several. (Alger, 1989)

Peace research must be at a crossroads where all disciplines intersect, so it can draw on the relevant knowledge of all, and be exposed to the criticism of all. This must include knowledge and insights from all disciplines. Peace research must be at a crossroads where a diversity of definitions of peace intersect, facilitating dialogue and synthesis among them. Thus, peace research must strive to achieve a vision of peace produced by dialogue among all states, nations, cultures and groups who have a stake in peace--big and small, rich and poor. The growing capacity of IPRA to meet this goal is revealed in the broad scope of peace issues covered in published volumes of papers from the Eleventh IPRA General Conference held in Sussex England and the Twelfth IPRA Conference held in Rio de Janeiro. The titles of the volumes tell the story: A Just Peace Through Transformation: Cultural, Economic and Political Foundations for Change (Alger and Stohl, 1988), and Peace Culture and Society: Transnational Research and Dialogue (Boulding, Brigagao and Clements, 1991).

Peace research must also be at the crossroads of peace research and peace education. Indeed, one of IPRA's major achievements has been a strong Peace Education Commission. It has been a vital factor at all IPRA conferences, has developed its own Newsletter and has held occasional special meetings between conferences. The Peace Education Commission has greatly facilitated the transferal of peace research findings into educational curricula and has continually challenged peace researchers to be more responsive to educational needs.

Finally, peace research also must be at the crossroads between peace research and peace action. It is not only that those involved in peace action need to be informed by the findings of scholars, but also that researchers must be responsive to questions that arise out of peace action. Obviously, peace research must serve an array of peace actors, both governmental and non-governmental. In the early days of peace research many tended to assume that the greatest need was to enlighten state officials on the paths to peace. Increasingly, we have struggled to be responsive to the knowledge needs of the growing array of non-governmental organizations and social movements. It is significant, and highly appropriate, that the editor of this journal intends to "publish NGO policy perspectives" and to "link peace researchers to peace groups." The contributions to this issue by Karlheinz Koppe, Kevin Clements and Stephanie Mills launch an effort to fulfill this goal.


Alger, Chadwick F. 1989. "Peace Studies at the Crossroads: Where Else?", Annals of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 50, No. 4, 117-127.

Alger, Chadwick F., and Michael Stohl, eds. 1988. A Just Peace Through Transformation:
Cultural, Economic, and Political foundations for Change. Boulder: Westview Press.

Boulding, Elise, Clovis Brigagao and Keven Clements. 1991. Peace Culture and Society:
Transnational Research and Dialogue. Boulder: Westview Press.

Brock-Utne, Birgit. 1989. Feminist Perspectives on Peace and Peace Education. New York:
Pergamon Press.

John Burton, 1990. Conflict: Resolution and Provention. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Johan Galtung, 1980. The True Worlds: A Transnational Perspective. New York: The Free

Paul Smoker, Ruth Davies and Barbara Munske, eds. 1990. A Reader in Peace Studies, Oxford:
Pergamon Press.