What Is Peace?

NEGATIVE PEACE is the absence of direct violence (physical, verbal, and psychological) between individuals, groups, and governments. (1)

Efforts to achieve negative peace emphasize:

  • Managing interpersonal and organizational conflict in order to control, contain, and reduce actual and potential violence.
  • Reducing the incidence of war by eliminating the extreme dangers of the war system and limiting war through international crisis management. (2)
  • Preventing war through strategic deterrence and arms control. (3)

  • The concept of NEGATIVE PEACE addresses immediate symptoms, the conditions of war, and the use and effects of force and weapons. Words and images that reveal the horror of war and its aftermath are often used by writers, artists, and citizen groups in their efforts to stop it.

    POSITIVE PEACE is more than the absence of violence; it is the presence of social justice through equal opportunity, a fair distribution of power and resources, equal protection and impartial enforcement of law. (1)

    Efforts to achieve positive peace emphasize:
  • Establishing peace through world order by supporting international law, compliance with multilateral treaties, use of international courts, and nonviolent resolution of disputes, participation in international organizations, trade, and communication. (4)
  • Establishing social equality and justice, economic equity, ecological balance; protecting citizens from attack, and meeting basic human needs. (5)
  • Establishing a civil peace that provides the constitutional and legal means necessary to settle differences nonviolently (6)
  • Eliminating indirect violence, that shortens the life span of people, sustains unequal life chances, or reduces quality of life for any citizen (7)
  • Practicing conflict resolution as a foundation for building peaceful interpersonal and institutional relationships.
  • The concept of POSITIVE PEACE involves the elimination of the root causes of war, violence, and injustice and the conscious effort to build a society that reflects these commitments. Positive peace assumes an interconnectedness of all life.

    1. Galtung, Reader in Peace Studies
    2. Nye, Hawks, Owls, and Doves
    3. Morgan, Deterrence
    4. Mendlovitz, On the Creation of a Just World Order
    5. Reardon, Reader in Peace Studies
    6. Adler, Haves Without Have-Nots
    7. Brock-Utne, Reader in Peace Studies

    Back to "Perspectives on Peace"

    If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

    Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

    Start Your Free Trial

    Follow us on:

    Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
    Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus


    December Calendar of Events
    December is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event. Happy holidays!

    Bullying Prevention Resources
    Bullying can cause both physical and emotional harm. Put a stop to classroom bullying, with our bullying prevention resources. Learn how to recognize several forms of bullying and teasing, and discover effective techniques for dealing with and preventing bullying in school.

    Conflict Resolution
    Teach your students to how resolve conflict amongst themselves without resorting to name-calling, fights, and tattling.

    Immigration Resources
    Studying immigration brings to light the many interesting and diverse cultures in the world.