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The Bio-Social Bases for Nonkilling and Nonviolent Behavior
This interdisciplinary workshop will bring together scientists and scholars for one week to focus on a largely neglected topic: the bio-social aspects of nonkilling/nonviolence and application of this perspective for preventing violence. A workshop focusing directly on nonkilling and nonviolence is unique and innovative. This workshop, an edited book to follow, and policy recommendations hold the potential to be important events in the development of nonkilling theory, research, and practical applications. The workshop will bring together scientists, scholars, and students to share and integrate knowledge from anthropology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, peace studies, and psychology. Central goals are to develop a holistic perspective of nonkilling and nonviolent behavior and to explore the policy implications of this new paradigm. Issues to be considered include:
the causes of killing (briefly), the causes of nonkilling and nonviolence, how to facilitate a transition from violence toward nonviolence, characteristics of nonviolent (peaceful) societies and the ways that peaceful societies successfully promote nonkilling/nonviolence, and what practical implications emerge from shifting the focus from violence to nonviolence and nonkilling. The workshop will result in a carefully planned and integrated edited book and a list of applied recommendations, in the form of a policy paper.
The time is ripe for an interdisciplinary workshop to enhance the cross-fertilization of knowledge across natural and social science fields, focusing specifically on the traditionally under-researched areas of nonviolence and nonkilling behavior. We suggest that a paradoxical situation currently exists. First, perhaps stemming from Western cultural beliefs, killing and warfare are perceived in science and society to be natural human attributes. Second, although nearly all human social life involves nonkilling and nonviolent behavior, we tend as scientists and citizens to take this fact for granted. Across biological and social science disciplines, we basically ignore the scientific study of nonkilling/nonviolence and instead focus attention on violence and killing. The central problem is to explore how to shift the existing default view that violence and war are regrettably inevitable and natural to a new paradigm that views nonviolence and nonkilling as the natural default. The workshop, mostly oriented toward dialogue and discussion, will be continued by a collaboration in which two enduring products are produced, an edited book with cooperatively co-authored chapters based on the workshop by workshop participants and a group-authored set of nonkilling/nonviolence policy recommendations that focus on how to prevent and reduce violence in and among societies. The resulting book and recommendations are geared toward academics, students, policy-makers, and the general public.