Evidence-Based Tools for a Culture of Nonviolence
PEACE POWER is a strategy for building community and organizational cultures incompatible with violence, threat and coercion. Unlike many untested violence prevention programs, the PEACE POWER strategy is based on state-of-the-art behavioral research, particularly from the science of behavior analysis. This research indicates that comprehensive community and organizational programs may be able to reduce violence by perhaps 50%, and may reduce the intensity of the remaining violence as well. The strategy also draws in important ways on Native American wisdom, which is proving remarkably consistent with the science of behavior analysis in recognizing the essential connections between people and their world. The full PEACE POWER model is designed for work with preteen, teen, and adult groups; modifications appropriate for programs with younger children have been developed for the elementary and preschool levels. This enables the construction of a seamless project that can be constructed for an entire organization or community system.
 
Many violence prevention programs rely primarily on suppressing violence, but fail to provide positive alternative ways for children, youth, and adults to influence their world, alternative sources of personal power—an approach that science tells us is almost certain to fail. The PEACE POWER strategy, by contrast, teaches and supports alternative repertoires. Contextual, ecological projects that focus on changes in organizational, family, peer, and community cultures like PEACE POWER, according to a 2001 review by the US Surgeon General and many other studies, are the most powerful preventive and intervention strategies available. (Click on “PP Resources” on the the menu bar for more information about the underlying science base.)
 
The four core cultural practices associated with constructing nonviolent cultures are the following:
 
 
To be effective, these practices need to be made real day by day, using evidence-based tools and activities. For primary school-aged children, these same core practices are termed “Recognize, Stop Put-Downs, Work Together,  and Make Peace.”  For preschool programs, the core practices are termed “Give Put-Ups, Stop Put-Downs, Work and Play Together,  and Make Peace.” PEACE POWER activities used with these groups are also adjusted to be age appropriate, while ensuring that adults in their networks are also involved at their own level. (A number of evidence-based tools and activities supporting each core practice are available by contacting the email address below.)
 
This updated site is currently under construction. For further information, please contact Dr. Mark Mattaini, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago (mattaini@peacepower.info).
 
All content on this site is © 1999-2008 by Mark A. Mattaini, and may be freely used by individuals, organizations and communities so long as it is not used for commercial purposes.