peaceful societies

Last week I made one of my visits to Via Negativa and found a very interesting series of posts that grabbed my own interest in “primitive” cultures. Dave Bonta announces the debut of the Peaceful Societies website

“Today marks the inauguration of a new website on Peaceful Societies: Alternatives to Violence and War. This is truly a ground-breaking site. There is nothing else like it on the web. Granted, I’m a bit biased. The site is largely the work of my father, Bruce D. Bonta, a retired academic librarian and peace scholar whose Peaceful Peoples: An Annotated Bibliography (Scarecrow, 1993) was similarly a pioneering effort.[..] The heart of the website is the Encyclopedia of Peaceful Societies, with twenty-five entries up and more on the way. I want to spend the next three days highlighting brief selections from these entries – things that struck my fancy for one reason or another”.

So he does on Friday and Saturday, concluding in part: “I should perhaps have made it clear from the outset that none of these societies are intended to serve as models for some ideal utopia. Personally, I think there are always trade-offs, and that some qualities we tend to value positively, such as bravery and personal ambition, may not be all that compatible with true social harmony.[...] And on a much larger scale, countries such as Iceland and Finland might now also satisfy the website’s definitions of a peaceful society.”

I’m familiar with some names including Inuit, Amish and Hutterites, but there are some unknown to me among the so-called primitives societies. I hope to see the S&#225mi people included in the list as it develops. One comment about Finland – while it is highly egalitarian and peaceful, it is still not without problems such as domestic violence due to alcohol abuse (that unfortunately common social disease!)

Fascinating, thought-provoking and recommended reading – it will keep me occupied for a while!

January 24, 2005 in Culture, Ethnicity by Marja-Leena