What Can I Do about Peace?
Through the lens of the partnership/domination social scale, we see the need for a systemic approach so peace is no longer just an interval between wars. Peace-making efforts tend to be reactive, focusing on mass shootings, police brutality, nationalistic militia groups, violent protests and rioting, rogue states and international treaties. But these do not address the underlying dynamics of violence and domination. We need cultures of peace: partnership cultures.
The partnership/domination social scale shows the connections between family violence, community violence, state violence, and international violence. It reveals that violence in families sets a pattern that normalizes the use of force to impose one’s will on others. Children’s experiences of violence in their families teach them that one either dominates or is dominated, and that violence is justified and even “moral” to “solve” conflicts.
To build cultures of peace, we must start in the family, with ending abuse and violence against women and children. Peace education must include education for nonviolence in parent-child and gender relations if it is to be effective. In the classroom, social and racial justice, the history of slavery, genocide and colonialism, and human rights education must be a part of public school curriculum.
Riane Eisler’s analysis of the connection of intimate violence with warfare and other forms of group violence has been featured in many publications, including the Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict (she is on the editorial board) and the World Encyclopedia of Peace. She has received many honors for her work on peace, including the 2009 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award, earlier awarded to the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Things to Do
Read Riane Eisler’s article Protecting the Majority of Humanity: Toward an Integrated Approach to Crimes against Present and Future. Published in 2013, this chapter in a Cambridge University book introduces a new approach to protecting women and children. It shows that the human rights of present and future generations must include the private sphere of family and other intimate relations and how international law, including the Crimes Against Humanity section of the Rome Statute can be used to achieve this vital goal.
Read Riane Eisler’s article Breaking the Devastating Link Between International Terrorism and Intimate Violence. Dr. Eisler addresses the connection between international terrorism and family violence and what we can do to break cycles of violence in our lives and communities. Her research shows that throughout history, the most violently despotic and warlike societies have been those where violence, or the threat of violence, is used to maintain domination of parent over child and man over woman.
Read the post: The Promise of Centering Childhood in Social Justice Education by David Metler
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