New Directions for Research on Nonviolence

  • Daniel M. MaytonII
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


Like the elephant being approached by the group of blind men for investigation, nonviolence is a concept with many dimensions and many levels that has been approached by many disciplines with their unique methods and theoretical orientations. Anthropologists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and theologians have added insights and knowledge to our understanding of nonviolence and nonviolent action. Much remains for study within each discipline, however more can be learned if interdisciplinary approaches are pursued.

This chapter provides a unified look at the conceptualization of nonviolence presented in this book. In addition specific recommendations for research on nonviolence and cultures of peace are delineated with recommendations for topics for student research and dissertation projects. In this chapter I also address the need for networking and collaboration across traditional disciplinary boundaries either informally or under the umbrella of interdisciplinary organizations. It is also important for researchers and theorists to partner with activists in designing studies.


Mortality Salience Soap Opera Interpersonal Level Peace Education Terror Management Theory 
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Recommended Readings

  1. McCarthy, R. M., & Kruegler, C. (1993). Toward research and theory building in the study of nonviolent action (Monograph Series Number 7). Cambridge, MA: The Albert Einstein Institute.Google Scholar
  2. This little monograph is an excellent analysis of the purpose of theory building within the social sciences in general and more specifically in the study of nonviolent activism. The authors provide many recommendations with concrete examples throughout the book. Anyone interested in conducting research on nonviolent activism should consider this a must read.Google Scholar
  3. McCarthy, R. M., & Sharp, G. (1997). Nonviolent action: A research guide. New York: Garland Press.Google Scholar
  4. This book is based on the assumption that researchers who want to advance the field of nonviolent action in an efficacious manner need to carefully study the methods of nonviolent action used in conflicts around the world. The book is divided into two parts. The first section is a compilation of references to nonviolent actions from the social sciences and government sources organized by region and country. The second part of the book is a compilation of references to the nature, theory, and perspectives on nonviolent action. This part is organized by methods, dynamics, pacifism, conflict, power, violence, and collective action.Google Scholar

Recommended Web Sites

  1. Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. D. (Eds.) (2001). Peace, conflict, and violence: Peace psychology for the 21st century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. This is a groundbreaking book in the field of peace psychology. The editors have brought together over two dozen experts in the field who have developed theory and reported research under their 2 × 2 rubric of violence (direct vs. structural) and peace (peacemaking vs. peacebuilding). This book may be downloaded at no cost from the following Web site:
  3. International Peace Research Association, = home&cat = home
  4. IPRA is a network of scholars, practitioners and decision makers from all continents that strive to stay at the cutting edge of the state of the art of peace. Established in 1964, IPRA has been pursuing interdisciplinary research into the most pressing issues related to sustainable peace. It has working groups on development and peace, the Earth Charter, evaluation of development and peace activities, knowledge and peace, Middle East, peace negotiations and mediation, peace psychology, sport and peace, and world governance and peace.Google Scholar
  5. International Society of Political Psychology,
  6. ISPP is a scientific, educational, and nonpartisan organization that is concerned about political and psychological phenomena. Membership includes a community of scholars and other concerned individuals in universities, government, the communications media, etc that are supportive of each other. Its purpose is to support scientific research, theory, and practice across disciplinary, national, and ideological boundaries, both among members of the Society and those outside the Society and to increase the theoretical and practical significance of political psychology both inside and outside academia. Political psychology covers a many different approaches and theories including social and cognitive psychology, political science, neuroscience, philosophy, psychoanalysis, history, sociology, communications, international relations, and political economy. Annual meetings are held across the globe.Google Scholar
  7. Peace History Society,
  8. Founded in 1964, the Peace History Society encourages and coordinates national and international scholarly work designed to explore and articulate the conditions and causes of peace and war, and to communicate the findings of scholarly work to the public.Google Scholar
  9. Peace, War, and Social Conflict, A Section of the American Sociological Association,
  10. This is the Web page for a section of a professional organization of sociologists designed to encourage the application of sociological methods, theories, and perspectives to the study of peace, war, and social conflict. Topics studied by the group include: causes and dynamics of war, conflict resolution, peace movements, military institution, nonviolence, race and ethnic conflict, gender and violence, and war refugeesGoogle Scholar
  11. Psychologists for Social Responsibility,
  12. Psychologists for Social Responsibility is a multidisciplinary community of members and supporters that share a commitment to the application of psychological knowledge in addressing today’s pressing societal challenges and in building cultures of peace with social justice.Google Scholar
  13. Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence,
  14. Established within the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1990 as the Division of Peace Psychology, this Society is a growing organization consisting of psychologists, students, and professional affiliates from diverse disciplines. The purpose of the Society is to increase and apply psychological knowledge in the pursuit of peace where peace is defined to include both the absence of war and the creation of positive social conditions that minimize destructive conflicts and promote human well-being. The Society has working groups that address Children, Families, and War; Ethnicity and Peace; Feminism and Peace; Environmental Justice and Protection; Globalization, Structural Violence, and Disarmament; and Conflict Resolution.Google Scholar
  15. Suggestions for Research Projects in Peace Psychology, by Rachel MacNair (2003),
  16. This Web site provides suggestions for research projects that are relevant to nonviolence and peace. MacNair also has links to her consulting service in this area.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel M. MaytonII
    • 1
  1. 1.Lewis-Clark State CollegeLewistonUSA

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