Peace, War, & Social Conflict

Newsletter of the Peace, War, & Social Conflict Section
of the American Sociological Association

June 1998


Peace and War Section (Now Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section) Celebrates 20 Years . . .
Reflections From Founding Members

Elise Boulding

I remember how frustrated I was during the anti-Vietnam era, that sociologists were putting so much energy into arguing political positions for the ASA and so little energy into developing the field of conflict and peace studies. Here was a research and teaching field that might in the long run enable peacebuilding scenarios to replace war and violence as ways to deal with conflicts.

At that time those of us who were members of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) and its North American affiliate, the Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development (COPPED) were busy forming groups to promote conflict and peace studies in every social science discipline. Naturally I was delighted at the opportunity to chair a committee of sociologists already sold on peace research. Jo Elder, Ted Goertzel, Ruth Jacobs, Lou Kriesberg that was a great gang! We set about educating our colleagues through a jointly authored article on Teaching the Sociology of World Conflicts: A Review of the State of the Field. From the beginning our group, which eventually became a Section, covered a wide variety of research approaches, as does IPRA and COPPED. Never large in numbers, we were nevertheless constantly challenging and stimulating each other and getting new courses introduced into our departments.

Given the new international dangers on the horizon with the steps India and Pakistan have taken to join the nuclear club, to say nothing of the turmoil in the Balkans, Middle East, and parts of Africa, it is time to remind our ASA colleagues of how important peace studies is and will be to help us get into the 21st century peacefully. More of them should join us!

Louis Kriesberg

My memory is that the section emerged to help solve a problem that the ASA Council faced during the hectic anti-Vietnam war struggle in this country and in the ASA. The Council, in responding to resolutions of the radical caucus relating to U.S. military engagement in Vietnam, appointed a Committee on the Sociology of World Conflicts. The initial membership did not include any members of the radical caucus, but the Committee added one.

The committee was chaired by Elise M. Boulding and included Joseph W. Elder, Ted Goertzel, Ruth Harriet Jacobs, and Louis Kriesberg. The Committee strove by many methods to educate our sociology colleagues about the importance of world conflicts for sociological teaching and research. After a few years, the Council decided that such an ad hoc committee could not continue indefinitely and the Committee members somewhat reluctantly agreed to form a Section.

The section was always an amalgam of groups, varying in number and relative size. The groups have included analysts of social conflicts, social movements, conflict resolution, armed forces, and popular culture; our research and teaching about these matters have stemmed from diverse theoretical and moral perspectives. We have learned much from each other.

**Note: Section Chair, Mary Anna Colwell, is working to collect other statements from members recalling the section's history and founding. Please contact her prior to the San Francisco meeting if you would like to contribute to a commemorativeflyer that will be made available at the 2~h anniversary celebration. Other statements relevant to marking this anniversary are welcome for the next newsletter (deadline is 15 October).

Report from the Chair:

Mary Anna Colwell, University of San Francisco

As most of us know from personal experience, the work of organizational maintenance is not nearly as interesting as the effort to reach substantive goals. In spite of that there are three informal discussion groups focused on the future of the Peace and War Section at the August meetings. The good news is that these will make it possible for several people to focus on a possible workshop before the meeting in Chicago, strategies for recruiting members and providing services, and possible changes in the by-laws. Unfortunately, these discussions had to be scheduled during our four section roundtables.

I once vowed I would never attend another by-laws meeting. In spite of that, I am facilitator
for an informal discussion group on section by laws and terms of office. Let me outline why I
suggested the topic. I, and several past section chairs, have experienced the necessity for a very
intense learning period in the fall semester after taking office as chair. As the year goes on, we
realize that we could have done things better if we had more concrete experience with the tasks
of organizing sessions, recruiting members and encouraging members to participate in section
activities, keeping members informed of ASA actions pertaining to the section; and encouraging
nominations for the student paper awards. A second year for the chair would make it possible
for her/him to capitalize on all the learning that took place m the first year.

From the ASA perspective, the chair has a three year term; one year as chair-elect, one as chair, and one as past chair. Presumably the year as chair-elect provides the necessary background and experience for the chair to take over in August and promptly do all that needs to be done. My experience is that with the best communication possible, and the best will, the chair person simply cannot convey all that she/he does adequately to the chair-elect or involve her/him sufficiently in the decision making while still learning the job. Another solution is for the chair-elect to be assigned specific tasks, especially the effort to add a special session. That effort should begin in January of the year in which one is chair- elect, not the fall of the year in which one is chair. Moreover, the ASA has very early October deadlines for the call for papers for the next year's August meetings. Either a second year term, which would make it possible for the chair to anticipate these early deadlines, or a much more active role for the chair-elect is important for small sections like ours that need more sessions to keep the section visible as well as viable. Even with a two year term for chair, I believe the chairelect position should be formally recognized in the by-laws as having specific responsibilities. As chair-elect one may feel that it is encroaching on the role of the chair to become more involved. I welcome any feedback on the above via email, fax, or the U.S. post office.

Beyond the organizational details, I look forward to seeing many of you at the San Francisco meeting. We will be celebrating the Section's 20th anniversary and our new name at this year's meeting!


Election Results
Section Opts for New Name

Section members voted to change the name of the ASA's Peace and War Section to the Section on the Sociology of Peace, War, and Conflict. Thanks to John MacDougal and others who participated in the name change task force.

Member Count (as of 6 June 1998): 256 (a low count; some renewals are not yet in . . .)

New Officers
Mady Segal, Chair-elect
Barbara Chasin, Council (1998-2000)
Meyer Kestnbaum, Council (1998-2000)
Juanita Firestone, Council (1999-2001)*

*To resolve a tie vote, lots were drawn and Kestnbaum will serve the Council term for this round of elections, and Firestone will begin her term next year.

Membership: As usual, the Section needs to continue efforts to build up its membership. An initiative begun this year was to solicit contributions for student gift memberships. More help is needed with our incoming Section chair, Rob Benford, to continue to attract new members.

Recruitment Honor Roll
The following members of the Section on Peace, War, and Conflict have made contributions to support graduate student memberships to the Section. We thank them for their service to the Section and encourage others to volunteer to pay for dues for a student member. If you wish to contribute a student membership or if you know a student who might want to join the section on one of these gift memberships, please contact: Mary Anna Colwell (

Rob Benford
David Segal
Mary Anna Colwell
Mady Segal
Morton Ender
Helen Raisz
Laura Miller

*Recruit a graduate student to the Section!!!

Response to the New Chair of Task Force on Genocide and the Social Sciences

Jack Nusan Porter, University of Massachusetts-Lowell

I am very happy to see the Task Force on Genocide and the Social Sciences that Tom Cushman of Wellesley College (a place with good connections to the White House) is now chairing. I am one of the founders of the field along with Helen Fein, Vahakn Dadrian, William Helmreich, and Irving Horowitz. My book, Genocide and Human Rights: A Global Anthology (1982, but collected earlier in 1977) was the first anthology from a sociological perspective on comparative genocide. My introduction, "What is Genocide? Notes Toward a Definition," is still quoted today in many books. (Copies of the book are available through The Spencer Press, 40 Hartford St. Newton. MA 02161).

I taught the first course on comparative genocide from a sociological perspective in 1977 at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (then called University of Lowell) with the great help of sociologist Levon (Leon) Chorbajain. Without Levon's sensitivity to genocide (his mother was a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915), I don't think the course would have ever gotten off the ground. Thank you, Levon. John MacDougal of the Section carries on that support at Lowell, so there's a history here that few sociologists know about, part of sociology's history of genocide studies.

I put together the first ASA-sponsored curriculum guide for teachers called The Sociology of Genocide/ The Holocaust (ASA, 1992), which will be out in a new edition in June, 1998, a much updated version since the field has grown so much.

I came back to Lowell a few years ago to teach these courses again, after twenty years, but I find a field in disarray. I go into these issues in my entry for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Genocide of which I am a contributing editor. The entry is called "Holocaust Controversies," and copies can be gotten from me through The Spencer Press at the above address. Israel Charny of Jerusalem is the editor-in-chief.

What are some of these controversies? As Tom Cushman rightfully notes: there is the problem of definition and application, there is denial of genocide on many levels. Some say, such as scholars like Steve Katz, that the Holocaust (the Shoah) was the only genocide of the 20th century; others deny that genocide took place among Native Americans or AfroAmericans. Was Bosnia a case of genocide or simply ethnic massacres? When does a massacre become a genocide?

And the most difficult question of all_how and when do we intervene? Our president has admitted that we acted too late in Bosnia and Rwanda, and even in Cambodia. Mea Culpa is fine but why did we not act swiftly? Sometimes, the most difficult questions have the easiest answers-- self interest, geopolitical interests, economic interests, and "not in our best interests." People are humane but nation-states are evil creatures and they commit evil acts not only through their action but more often through their non-actions. They stand idly by while genocide occurs, now in Tibet, Cambodia earlier, Nazi Germany before that, and Armenia at the beginning of the century. Nation-states always have good reasons (excuses) not to intervene. Innocent people die while statesmen argue.

Tom Cushman is correct: the 20th century is indeed a "century of genocide," but I see a bnght spot on the honzon for the 21st century. The first two major wars of this century were wars where men gladly joined. They wanted to fight. But Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War came along and increasingly, men becatne reluctant to fight. War is increasingly unpopular. Will then, war become obsolete in the 21st century or will it be replaced by smaller, surgical procedures that we call small-scale genocide? Is this a "bright spot" or not? That is the question and the challenge for us as sociologists and as hurnan~sts as we face the new millenium.

San Francisco: Section Events on the Preliminary Program

Monday August 24
Mon. 2:30-4:15 p.m.

417. Special Session. Inequality and Violence: Understanding the Connection (cosponsored by the ASA Section on Peace and War)
Organizer and Presider: Mary Anna C. Colwell, University of San Francisco
Panel: Barbara H. Chasin, Montclair State University
Lester R. Kurtz, University of Texas, Austin
Jennifer E. Turpin, University of San Francisco
Dana P. Eyre, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

Mon. 6:30 p.m.
Reception & 20th Anniversary Commemoration

Tuesday, August 25
Tues. 8:30-10:15 a.m.

480. Section on Peace and War. Roundtables and Business Meeting
8:30-9:30 a.m., Roundtables
Organizers: Ruth Searles, University of Toledo; and Lynne Woehrle, Wilson College

Refereed Roundtables on Peace and War:

1. Theories of Ethnicity and Nonviolence Confront Armed Conflict

Transforming Ethnic Conflict in a Northern Irish Community. Lee A. Smithey, University of Texas, Austin

The Lessons of Bosnia for Conflict Resolution Research. Dana P. Eyre, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

2. Cohesion and Deviance Control in the Military

Table Presider: Meyer Kestnbaum, University of Maryland, College Park

In Search of a Measure of Community Cohesion. Peggy McClure and Walter Broughton, Marywood University

3. Gender, Race, and Opportunity in the Military and Industry

Table Presider: Lynne Woehrle, Wilson College

Women and Men in American Defense Industries. Robin L. Riley, Syracuse University

How Active Duty Army Personnel Perceive the Military's Equal Opportunity Climate. Brenda L. Moore, State University of New York, Buffalo

4. Constructions of Defense and Responsibility and Their Impact on Action

Table Presider: Lester R. Kurtz, University of Texas, Austin

The Compulsion to Win and Its Threat to Human Survival. Gordon Fellman, Brandeis University

Habermas, Critical Theory, and the Problem of Deferred Agency. Michael Sukhov, City University of New York

Informal Discussion Roundtables:-The Peace and War Section and the Future

5. Recruiting and Serving Members. Mady Segal, University of Maryland

6. Section Workshop before the Chicago Meeting. Organizer: Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

7. Section Bylaws and Terms of Off ce. Mary Anna C. Colwell, University of San Francisco

9:30-10:15 a.m., Section Business Meeting

498. Section on Peace and War. Globalization and Inequality

Organizer and Presider: Jackie Smith, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Globalization, Inequality, and Conflict. Robert Schaeffer, San Jose State University; and Torry Dickinson, Kansas State University

International Integration, Employment, and Export Agriculture: The Developmental Implications of the Chilean Grape Industry. Marcus Kurtz, University of Miami

Diffusion of Human Rights and Ethnic Mobilization: Internal and External Causes of Ethnic Mobilization in the Contemporary World. Kiyoteru Tsutsui, Stanford University

World System vs. World Culture: Human Rights and Transnational Corporations. Jackie Smith, Melissa Bolyard, and Anna Ippolito, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Discussion: Kevin Danaher, Global Exchange; and Anuradha Mittal, Institute for Food and Development Policy_Food First

Tues. 12:3D p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
513. Section on Peace and War. The Impact of Peace Movements on Public Policy (cosponsored by the Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements)

Organizers: Mary Anna C. Colwell, University of San Francisco; and Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Presider: Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Shattering Echoes: Impact of the American New Left on Reform and Conflict in Northern Ireland. Gregory M. Maney, University of Wisconsin, Madison

The American Anti-Vietnam War Movement and the Development of New Channels of Political Access. Kelly Moore, Barnard College

The Central America Peace Movement: Achievements and Failures in Retrospect. Christian Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

How the Cold War Was Really Won: Rethinking the Effectiveness of Peace Movements. David Meyer, City College, City University of New York

Tues.2:30-4:15 p.m.
524. Section on Sociology of Sex and Gender.
Sexuality in the Military (co-sponsored by the
Section on Peace and War)

Organizer and Presider: Lynda J. Ames, State University of New York, Plattsburgh

Without Certain Inalienable Rights: A Critical Evaluation of Sexuality in the U.S. Army. Justin
and Denise Scott, State University of New York, Geneseo

Gender and Sexual Orientation Diversity in Modern Military Forces: Cross-National Patterns. David R. Segal and Bradford Booth, University of Maryland, College Park

Discussion: Melissa S. Herbert, Hamline University; and Laura L. Miller, University of California,
Los Angeles

Publications by Section Members

Ender, Morten
. 1998. "The Postmodern Military: Soldiering, New Media, arid the PostCold War" Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict 1997-1998 Annual Edition, 50-58.

Kriesberg, Louis. Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution (1998, Rowman & Littlefield).

Kriesberg, Louis. "Intractable Conflicts" In The Handbook of Interethnic Coexistence
Eugene Weiner, Editor. (New York: Continuum, 1998) pp. 332-342.

Kriesberg, Louis. "Coexistence and the Reconciliation of Communal Conflicts" in The Handbook of Interethnic Coexistence Eugene Weiner, Editor. (New York: Continuum, 1998) pp. 183-198.

Smith, Jackie, Ron Pagnucco and George A. Lopez, "Globalizing Human Rights: The Work of Transnational Human Rights NGOs in the l 990s."Human Rights Quarterly 20 (May, 1998) 379-412.

Member News

Morten Ender has taken a position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at the United States Military Academy, Department of Behavioral Science & Leadership at West Point. His e-mail will continue to work at:

Jennifer Turpin has been promoted to Associate Dean for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of San Francisco. And look for her co-edited book, The Women and War Reader, which is coming out in August from NYU Press (with Lois Ann Lorentzen). Turpin was also appointed Vice-Chair of a new NGO called International Peace University, which is Chaired and directed by Section members Kai Erikson and James Skelly, respectively. International Peace University is a new program that will link peace, conflict, and development studies programs internationally and allow students to complete an M.A. while studying at different institutions. More information on the program can be accessed at

Call for Submissions:

The Charles DeBenedetti Prize in Peace History, for 1997-1998
The Peace History Society invites submission for the prize, to be given to the author or authors of an outstanding journal article published in English in 1997 or 1998, which deals with peace history. Articles may focus on the history of peace movements, the response of individuals to peace and war issues, the relationship between peace and other reform movements, gender issues in warfare and peacemaking, comparative analyses, and quantitative studies. The prize includes a cash award of $500.

Articles should be submitted in triplicate by February 1, 1999 to Susan Zeiger, Department of History, Regis College, Weston MA 02193.

The prize was first awarded in 1989. Previous prize-holders include: 1987-88: Larry Wittner, "Peace Movements and Foreign Policy: The Challenge to Diplomatic Historians," Diplomatic History (Fall 1987). 1989-90: Frances Early, "Feminism, Peace, and Civil Liberties: Women's Role in the Origins of the World War I Civil Liberties Movement," Women's Studies (1990). 1991-92: Sandi Cooper, "Pactfism in France, 1889-1914: International Peace as a Human Right," French Historical Studies (Fall 1991). 1993- 94: Allen Smith, "Mass Society and the Bomb: The Discourse of Pacifism in the 1950s," Peace and Change (October 1993). 1995-96: Susan Zeiger, "She Didn't Raise Her Boy To Be a Slacker: Motherhood, Conscription, and the Culture of the First World War," Feminist Studies (Spring 1996).


In order to serve our members, the Section needs your help. In particular, we need volunteers to help with the following:

Chicago Workshop Planning
Membership Committee
Newsletter co-editor(s)

If you are interested in volunteering for these

or other tasks, please contact Rob Benford (for the newsletter) Jackie Smith (see. Front of this newsletter for contact information).

Calls for Papers

Peace Review, a transnational, multidisciplinary quarterly, publishes essays on -topics including war, violence, human rights, political economy, development, culture and consciousness, and the environment. Deadlines July 25 for issue on "Conflict identities." "Third World Peace Perspectives"/ October 27. Send essays on and off themes of 2500-3500 words, on IBM or Mac disk to: Robert Elias, Editor. Peace Review. University of San Francisco; 2130 Fulton St. San Francisco,CA 94177 (

Peace Studies-Related Web Sites

See the Section Research web page for additional locations.

Web site on Democide, Democracy and War: Developed by R.J. Rummel (Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Hawaii), this site includes data, sources, statistical analyses, books, and articles. The democide data covers major pre-20th century episodes of democide, and all democide for all nations 1900-1987. http://www2.hawaii. edu/~rummel/

Upcoming Newsletter Deadline: 15 October. Send notifications of your recent publications,
essays, responses to ideas raised in this issue, etc.
to: Jackie Smith,
Dept. of Sociology, SUNY- Stony Brook, Stony Brook,NY 11794-4356.

Remember . . . Section Day

1998 ASA Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA

  • Business Meeting 9:30 a.m.
  • Sessions: 480, 498, 513
  • Reception: Mon., 6:30 p.m.

During the Reception, we will recognize the 20th Anniversary of the Section's founding. Please join us in San Francisco to commemorate the origins of the Peace and War Section.

Peace, War, & Social Conflict Section Membership

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