International News

Two leading lights in research for peace, Elise Boulding and John W. Burton, pass away

Two of the great names of the first generation of research died in June; John Burton (23 June) and Elise Boulding (24 June). These two losses are very significant, and they were sorely missed at the recent IPRA meeting in Sydney (see The ICIP blog).We will look at both of them in greater depth in the next issue.

For the moment, let us briefly review their contributions to the field. Elise Boulding, a Quaker from a Norwegian background but brought up in the United States, made enormous contributions to research for peace over the course of decades. She based her research on a holistic and pluridimensional conception of peace, emphasising the reinvention of the idea of "global civic culture," education for peace, and made great contributions in enphasizing the role of women and families in peace processes. Even today, her book published in 1976, The Underside of History: A View of Women through Time, remains a compulsory benchmark and an example of how to restore the role of women as actors and subjects in the history of humanity. This link provides access to an interesting interview granted to Beyond Intractability in 2003:

John Burton was an Australian civil servant and diplomat, who had a long and varied academic career in the international relations field after settling in the United Kingdom. His contribution to the study of what he called "world society" and his dedication to the study, analysis and resolution of conflicts was very important and inspiring, to the point where he is considered to be one of the leading lights in what is known as the "interactive approach". He made many important contributions to the field of peace studies and research for peace, beginning with his 1962 book, Peace Theory: Preconditions of Disarmament, which had a major impact. The following is a link to an article that assesses his radical and heterodox contributions to international relations:

We would like to thank Elise and John for their work, their example and their commitment.