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Peace And Conflict Studies

by David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel

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About Book

Johan Galtung :

"Beautifully crafted, logically constructed, the book by Barash and Webel will be the introductory text to peace and conflict studies for years to come. With a wealth of interesting material and a clear, accommodating, yet sufficiently rigorous, framework anyone who has studied these pages will come out a richer person, more able to act in and on today’s world." 


"Beautifully crafted, logically constructed, the book by Barash and Webel will be the introductory text to peace and conflict studies for years to come. With a wealth of interesting material and a clear, accommodating, yet sufficiently rigorous, framework anyone who has studied these pages will come out a richer person, more able to act in and on today’s world." 

Book Description
This book comprehensively introduces students to the relatively young interdisciplinary field of peace and conflict studies. A hallmark of the book is the effort it makes to encourage independent and critical thinking among student readers.

About the Author

Charles Webel received a multidisciplinary Ph.D. in Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, and Philosophy in 1976 from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, he has pursued post-doctoral studies at Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute and at the Universities of Paris, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg. A lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley, his major fields of concentration include social and political theory; peace and conflict studies; social, political, and cultural psychology; and the philosophy of science and the social sciences. In addition to his academic career, he briefly enjoyed a career in publishing as executive editor of social sciences, social work, and philosophy at Columbia University Press (1980-83).



David P. Barash received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin in 1970 and has been with the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington since 1973. His studies span animal behavior and social psychology, with concentrations in sociobiology, psychological aspects of the arms race and nuclear war, peace studies, and animal behavior and evolution. A prolific author, he has written 180 technical articles and 19 books ranging from monographs (Marmots: Social Behavior & Ecology) to college textbooks (Sociobiology & Behavior) to popular trade titles (The Great Outdoors and The Whisperings Within). His 1991 Wadsworth text, Introduction to Peace Studies, upon which the current book is derived, helped to shape and define Peace Studies as a formal field of inquiry.


Excerpted from Peace and Conflict Studies by David P. Barash, Charles Webel. Copyright © 2002. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Welcome to Peace and Conflict Studies. We have written this book out of confidence that this recent discipline has acquired the academic legitimacy and political efficacy of other scholarly pursuits. Certainly, it has long had the necessary intellectual substance, as well as relevance for students, scholars, social activists, and decision makers.

This is a rather long book, but we don’t apologize. Its length is not unusual, for example, when compared with introductory textbooks in other mainstream subjects such as psychology, philosophy, chemistry, and economics. Because Peace and Conflict Studies is intended as a text primarily for undergraduate students, we have sought to emphasize important themes and readability rather than immersion in the technical literature. On the other hand, our impression is that many North American college students—even those interested in the study and pursuit of peace—tend, regrettably, to be uninformed about history, often presuming that peace as an issue began with the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s, or at most during the Vietnam War. Hence, we have been relatively generous with historical material, to supplement and if possible deepen the reader’s appreciation of current issues, such as civil wars involving nationalism and “ethnic cleansing,” nuclear proliferation, international law, world poverty, and pressing environmental concerns.

It is a cliche—often trotted out at graduation ceremonies—that “you (i.e., the graduating students) have reached a crossroad,” requiring important, life-defining choices. Well, all of us—that is, human beings—have in fact reached such a crossroad, although perhaps humanity is always approaching one choice point or another. Our global situation seems constructed of equal parts danger and opportunity: opportunity because the world is no longer hostage to the paralyzing effects of the debilitating U.S.-Soviet conflict formerly known as the Cold War, but also danger because the risk of mass destruction still looms. There is also an array of additional threats to our species and our planet: sometimes overt and violent, sometimes covert and insidious. Added to this is a growing sense of complacency, at least on the part of many relatively affluent citizens of the United States and other Western countries.

We need to point out, as well, that our interest in this project goes beyond mere scholarship, pedagogy, or even our (presumably) enlightened self-interest as world citizens. Thus, we are personally committed to the social and political goals of Peace and Conflict Studies. The field itself differs from most other human sciences in that it is value oriented, and unabashedly so. Accordingly, we wish to be up front about our own values, which are frankly antiwar, antiviolence, antinuclear, antiauthoritarian, antiestablishment, proenvironment, pro-human rights, pro-social justice, propeace, and politically progressive. At the same time, we believe that emotional and political efforts at personal and social transformation are most effective if they build on serious intellectual efforts, including an attempt to understand all sides of complex debates.

We also acknowledge that—to our chagrin—a scholarly account of such material as poverty, environmental threats, the denial of human rights, and especially war necessarily involves a degree of detached writing that can never capture the vitality of the subject matter, not to mention the ineffable horrors and terror of violence and war. We can only plead that we have done our best. We also wish to say a bit about the making of this book. Its first edition was called Introduction to Peace Studies and was written by David Barash. The book eventually went out of print, and Charles Webel contacted David about a second edition. David and Charles agreed to rewrite it as a work for a new century. The text you have in your hands is their joint product, with Charles principally responsible for revising the first half (Parts I and II) and David for the second half (Parts III and IV).

As is often the case with coauthored books, there are some unresolved, and probably unresolvable, issues connected with this work. In this case, although we agree on almost every matter discussed in this book—which is remarkable given the range and number of topics covered—we are not in complete accord about the “end of the Cold War” or the “dangers of the new technologies.” But we most emphatically agree that these important matters should be researched, discussed, and debated—as should all the vital and often controversial topics discussed in this book.

While the present book was in press, the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., were attacked, resulting in at least 4,000 deaths and unleashing enormous grief, confusion, and anger. These horrifying events, although to some degree unique, also share features with many other acts of warfare and collective violence throughout history; if anything, they make peace and conflict studies all the more relevant, especially to citizens of the United States, who have not experienced such carnage on their own soil since the Civil War.

In the aftermath, it seems more important than ever to inquire deeply into the causes of all forms of violence, whether state sponsored or not, as well as to ask about suitable responses, not only by sovereign states but also via the institutions of international law; in addition, persons concerned about peace must question seriously the morality as well as the efficacy of framing "security" in strictly military terms. Furthermore, these terrible events have emphasized the role of emotional, economic, religious, and historical factors, along with the degree to which East-West antagonisms may be eclipsed by North-South disparities and conflicts, as we enter the 21st century.

Peace has never been more important, or complicated.

We thank and applaud you for pursuing peace and conflict studies and encourage you to pursue your interest in understanding and promoting peace long after you have finished reading this book.

May peace be with you all.

DAVID P. BARASH Seattle, Washington

CHARLES P. WEBEL Berkeley, California


Actually the writer was to encorage the peace and conflict student which i hapen to amonge. God bless u and peace be with u


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