The Psychology of Peace

An Introduction, 2nd Edition

by Rachel M. MacNair


Achieving a peaceful world is a goal that has so far eluded humanity. As much as factors such as socioeconomic differences, racism, and deep-seated contention between religious or ethnic groups spark conflict, it is the human tendency towards violent behavior that needs to be addressed.

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Cover image for The Psychology of Peace

November 2011


Pages 268
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Social

Despite our advances in technology and education, we still live in a world permeated by violence. This introductory textbook in the field of peace psychology addresses the psychological causes of violence and nonviolence, conflict resolution, nonviolent struggle, and the confluence of public policy and private lifestyles.

Just as health providers study disease and its prevention, understanding the causes of violent behavior and how to prevent such behavior is a basic cornerstone for those who are working towards a healthy society. Another parallel: maintaining physical health involves positive practices; similarly, positive nonviolent approaches need to be psychologically understood and encouraged. The second edition of The Psychology of Peace: An Introduction demonstrates what can be learned through the lens of peace psychology, providing a solid foundation in the psychological theories needed for building and maintaining a peaceful society and peaceful individuals.

This second edition incorporates the tremendous amount of new research and subsequent events since 2003, including post-2003 violent and nonviolent revolutions, such as the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the nonviolent overthrowing of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. Author MacNair again outlines why application of psychological study to the soundness of decision-making for public policy—and to the policies themselves—is crucial knowledge, and how applying the study to private practices and even art can help build up a peaceful society.


  • Provides an overview of the essentials of peace psychology
  • Presents information in a coherent, logical manner
  • Covers the psychology of the problems and of the wide variety of solutions
  • Supplies a chronological history of the development of peace psychology
  • Includes stories to keep the material engaging
Author Info

Rachel M. MacNair, PhD, is 2012 president-elect of the American Psychological Association's Division 48, Society for Peace Psychology, and will serve as president of the division in 2013. MacNair is director of the Institute for Integrated Social Analysis, the research arm of the non-profit organization Consistent Life. She also coaches dissertation students on statistics development, application, and presentation. MacNair earned a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies from Earlham College, Richmond, IN, and a doctorate in psychology and sociology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO. Her published works includes Praeger'sPerpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing and Working for Peace: A Handbook of Practical Psychology and other Tools.



"MacNair writes with sufficient force and clarity to keep general readers, even young ones, engaged. . . . Her analysis will provide a valuable intellectual structure for further study of the roots and branches of war and peace at all levels, from the individual to worldwide."Library Journal

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