Conflict Resolution among Peaceful Societies: The Culture of Peacefulness

Thursday 24 March 2022

Bruce D. Bonta. 1996. Journal of Peace Research 33, no. 4 : 403–20.

Bonta analyses the way in which twenty four peaceful societies such as the Semai, the !Kung, and the Nubian peoples utilise methods of conflict resolution, revolving around maintaining harmony. These methods include simply walking away, meetings to air hostilities, lack of punishment and humour. The indigenous opinion is that peace means the complete rejection of violence and conflict, and this can only be obtained in an objective, non-emotional manner. He contrasts this with America’s methods, using an example of a court case to illustrate how the Western view towards conflict is justice, as opposed to maintaining peace, and the viewpoint that conflict is inevitable, meaning that peace will not be obtained. Overall, Bonta provides a clear comparison of peaceful indigenous societies to that of the Western world, emphasising the importance of indigenous practices in order to aid Western peacemaking initiatives.

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