Thursday, June 16, 2011

Transformational scholarship

Scholars all try to make a mark in their fields. It's sort of by definition, since scholarship is defined as adding to the knowledge of a discipline or field. Of course, it's relatively easy to do that if you buy into the notion of the war system. They have all the money, and it takes funding for most research.

Peace researchers have an uphill climb with scant help, few research assistants, little course release time, and incredulous skeptics in the traditional disciplines greeting their proposals and findings. For the determined, that has not stopped them. Glenn D. Paige, now emeritus in political science at the University of Hawai'i, has helped introduce the study of "nonkilling" and "Paige seeks to fundamentally
transform the discipline of political science as it is generally practiced
today" (Sniegocki, 2007, p. 285).

Historically, Political Science has been a war system discipline following the von Clausewitz dictum, " "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," with a few outliers promoting a peace system. The nonkilling philosophy and theory is transformative, since, if war is not a threat, injustice is virtually impossible to maintain, invasion is almost inconceivable, and there is no big gun strapped to a bailiff or deputy enforcing the laws or rulings of the judges.

Fortunately for those who want to move beyond the nice notion of nonviolence to the pragmatic possibilities, scholarship is increasing in Security Studies, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, and Peace and Conflict Studies that bolsters the growing arguments for the adaptive and in fact necessary transformation from a war system to a peace system. Pioneers like Paige are finding many more allies in the younger research cohorts in all these disciplines.

The Next Big Step is for these researchers to convey this knowledge to a citizenry who are forever told: Be afraid and So which choice do you make--back the war or just do nothing? Scholarly knowledge circulating amongst scholars is interesting and impotent. The power of the people to transform our war system to a peace system requires the translation of this peace research into understandable, cogent public discourse.


Sniegocki, J. H. (2007). Recommended Books. Peace Review, 19(2), 281-287. doi:10.1080/10402650701354057

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