Recalibrating Conceptualizations of "Cultures of Peace": A Cross-National Study of Nonviolent Attitudes
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This dissertation pursues three broad questions. First, what are the correlates of nonviolent attitudes around the world? Second, which nations exhibit characteristics of robust "Cultures of Peace"? Third, are there signs that history and collective memory shapes attitudes, i.e., do cultures "learn" from experiences of war, peace, or nonviolence? A multi-method approach sought to further our understandings of propensities for peace at both the national and individual levels. First, an analysis of nation-level Gallup World Poll data (N=136 nations) identifies correlates of nonviolent attitudes and advances a critique of the Global Peace Index (GPI), grounded in the observed disconnect between structural and attitudinal indicators of peace in many nations. The Gallup World Poll analysis suggests that many forces of modernization instill forms of "callous cruelty" while failing to cultivate pragmatic nonviolent attitudes. For example, poor nations and nations with recent successful nonviolent revolution are more likely to affirm that nonviolence "works" than wealthier nations ranking high in the GPI. Moreover, it is argued from Gallup data that the accumulation of "peace capital" is quite specific, with a frequent disconnect between forms of principled and pragmatic nonviolence. Second, survey data were collected from two "maximally different" cases, university students in the U.S. (N=403) and Costa Rica (N=312), which have starkly divergent structural and historical relationships to peace and militarism. Utilizing a new survey instrument, factor analyses helped to identify cross-national variations in respondent adherence to ideologies of violence and nonviolence: militarism, realism, just war, or nonviolence. The results show Costa Ricans were significantly more peaceful than U.S. respondents on 48 out of 52 items. Susceptibility to "elite cues" was tested in an experimental section. Tests revealed gaps in historical knowledge of nonviolence offering support for the theory that "ideology has no history." Finally, a cross-national sample of state-approved history textbooks from 8 nations (Germany, Norway, Ghana, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the U.S.) were analyzed as outcomes of collective memory processes. The relative neglect of significant nonviolent revolutions and campaigns in the majority of these textbooks suggests formidable obstacles to the proliferation of nonviolent ideology around the world.