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From Moral Exclusion to Moral Inclusion: Theory for Teaching Peace



This article presents Moral Exclusion Theory as a way to systematize the study of complex issues in peace education and to challenge the thinking that supports oppressive social structures. The authors define its 2 key concepts: moral exclusion, the limited applicability of justice underlying destructive conflicts and difficult social problems; and moral inclusion, the emphasis on fairness, resource sharing, and concern for the well-being of all underlying peace building. They demonstrate the relevance of Moral Exclusion Theory in 4 key areas of peace education: (a) education for coexistence, (b) education for human rights, (c) education for gender equality, and (d) education for environmentalism. They then describe 2 common issues faced by schools, bullying and textbook bias, to demonstrate that moral exclusion is common and how students and staff can redress it. The article concludes with the challenge to use peace education as a tool for moral inclusion and for bringing about a world in which justice applies to all.
Susan Opotow
Janet Gerson
Sarah Woodside
From Moral Exclusion
to Moral Inclusion:
Theory for Teaching Peace
This article presents Moral Exclusion Theory as
a way to systematize the study of complex issues
in peace education and to challenge the thinking
that supports oppressive social structures. The au-
thors define its 2 key concepts: moral exclusion,
the limited applicability of justice underlying de-
structive conflicts and difficult social problems;
and moral inclusion, the emphasis on fairness, re-
source sharing, and concern for the well-being of
all underlying peace building. They demonstrate
the relevance of Moral Exclusion Theory in 4 key
areas of peace education: (a) education for coex-
istence, (b) education for human rights, (c) edu-
cation for gender equality, and (d) education for
environmentalism. They then describe 2 common
issues faced by schools, bullying and textbook
bias, to demonstrate that moral exclusion is com-
mon and how students and staff can redress it. The
article concludes with the challenge to use peace
education as a tool for moral inclusion and for
bringing about a world in which justice applies
to all.
THE WORLD CAN BE A frightening place. Each
generation has seen too much violence and
too many deaths. Many kinds of conflicts—inter-
national, regional, intergroup, and interpersonal—
damage people, communities, and the natural
world. Conflicts can also change the world, so-
cially and ecologically, and prompt vast human
migrations in response to political violence, pov-
erty, and ethnic and religious tensions. Though
dreams of peace are as old as humanity, a sus-
tained peace remains elusive.
THEORY INTO PRACTICE, 44(4), 303–318
Susan Opotow is a Professor in the Graduate Program in
Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts
Boston. Janet Gerson is the Acting Director of Training
for the Peace Education Center at Teachers College, Co-
lumbia University. Sarah Woodside is an MA Candidate
in the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution at the
University of Massachussetts Boston.
Correspondence should be addressed to Susan
Opotow, Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution, Uni-
versity of Massachusetts Boston. 100 Morrissey Blvd.,
Boston, MA 02125. E-mail:
Consistent with the purpose of this journal,
we—a psychology of injustice researcher, a peace
educator, and a high school teacher who is a grad-
uate student in conflict studies—bring a theoreti-
cal lens to peace education. We do so enthusiasti-
cally because theory offers teachers a systematic
way to present complex issues. Theory proposes
interconnections among related elements and sug-
gests a sequence of steps that can achieve change.
This article describes moral exclusion theory
(Opotow, 1990, 1995) as a useful tool for peace
education. As we will explain, moral exclusion
captures the dynamics underlying destructive con-
flicts and difficult social problems, whereas its
counterpart, moral inclusion, captures the dynam-
ics of peace building in its emphasis on fairness,
resource sharing, and concern for the well-being
of all.
We begin this article by defining conflict and
peace and describing their relevance to peace edu-
cation. We then describe moral exclusion, moral
inclusion, and their relevance to four interrelated
areas of peace education: coexistence, human
rights, gender equality, and environmentalism.
Throughout, we identify Web-based resources for
an integrated, dynamic peace education curricu-
lum. The final section describes two common ex-
amples of moral exclusion in schools, bullying
and textbook bias, and the potential of peace edu-
cation to introduce a morally inclusive perspective
in a school’s way of doing things.
Educating for Peace
Just as conflict and peace are complex con-
structs, peace education, too, is complex and can
be approached in many ways, depending on par-
ticular understandings of conflict and peace. It is
prudent, then, to begin this article with brief defi-
nitions of these key constructs.
Conflict is a ubiquitous and normal part of so-
cial living. Conflicts can be small or large, obvious
or hidden, and brief or long lasting. They occur in-
ternationally, nationally, and locally. In schools,
for example, conflicts occur in chronic or acute
tensions among students, staff, and community
members. They can involve such intractable issues
as bullying, tracking, and educational equity (see
Deutsch, 1993a, 1993b, for excellent papers on
conflict in educational contexts).
Although conflicts are inevitable in social rela-
tions, people can approach conflict constructively
as well as destructively (Deutsch, 1973). When
approached constructively and cooperatively, con-
flicts can surface important issues and challenge
injustice. Conflicts do not invariably lead to vio-
lence (Opotow, 2000). Even when cooperative
processes fail, people can still voice their concerns
through individual or collective opposition, pro-
test, and nonviolent noncooperation (Sharp,
1973). Although violence is sometimes described
as innate, 20 scientists, authors of the Seville
Statement on Nonviolence (UNESCO, 1986), ar-
gued that organized violence does not have bio-
logical roots: “Biology does not condemn human-
ity to war. … Just as ‘wars begin in the minds of
men,’ peace also begins in our minds. The same
species who invented war is capable of inventing
peace.” Rules and technologies of war clearly
change over time and vary between traditions, il-
lustrating that social learning and culture influ-
ence how conflict is understood and enacted.
Just as human nature is often portrayed as in-
nately violent, peace is often portrayed as a tran-
quil, uncomplicated end state. This is a constricted
and oversimplified view of peace. Peace is only
partly the absence of war (negative peace)ora
state of harmony and justice (positive peace).
Fundamentally, peace is a long-term and gutsy
project that seeks to bring about lasting and con-
structive change in institutions that maintain soci-
ety (Haavelsrud, 1996). Said differently, peace is
“a dynamic social process in which justice, equity,
and respect for basic human rights are maximized,
and violence, both physical and structural, is mini-
mized” (Reardon & Cabezudo, 2002, p. 19). To
endure, peace requires social conditions that foster
individual and societal well-being. Achieving and
maintaining these social conditions, in turn, re-
Peace Education
quires grappling with the inevitable conflicts that
challenge peace using processes that are nonvio-
lent, collaborative, and life enhancing. Just as con-
flict surfaces differing perspectives and needs,
peace building is an opportunity to rethink and re-
shape the prevailing status quo. This article argues
that peace building as constructive social change
is the process of moral inclusion.
Peace Education
As former UNESCO Director-General Feder-
ico Mayor (1999) described,
The United Nations initiatives for a culture of peace
mark a new stage: Instead of focusing exclusively on
rebuilding societies after they have been torn apart
by violence, the emphasis is placed on preventing vi-
olence by fostering a culture where conflicts are
transformed into cooperation before they can degen-
erate into war and destruction. The key to the pre-
vention of violence is education for nonviolence.
This requires the mobilisation of education in its
broadest sense—education throughout life and in-
volving the mass media as much as traditional edu-
cational institutions. (p. 23)
Peace education should be designed to recognize,
challenge, and change the thinking that has sup-
ported oppressive societal structures and, as we ar-
gue, moral exclusion. It should reveal conditions
that trigger violence, ideological rivalries, and na-
tional policies that maintain arms races, military
systems, and inequitable economic priorities
(Reardon, 1988). The pedagogy of peace educa-
tion should be “a philosophy and a process involv-
ing skills, including listening, reflection, prob-
lem-solving, cooperation and conflict resolution.
The process involves empowering people with the
skills, attitudes and knowledge to create a safe
world and build a sustainable environment” (Har-
ris & Morrison, 2003, p. 9).
Peace education is not limited to children. It is
relevant to K–12 schools, undergraduate and grad-
uate education, professional workshops and
in-service training, adult classes, and in commu-
nity and faith-based programs. As the Balkan Ac-
tion Agenda for Sustainable Peace (Global Part-
nership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
News, 2004) stated,
Peace education should be introduced into all sectors
of society to strengthen the capacities of citizens and
societies to deal with conflict non-violently, and to
transform destructive conflict into dialogue. NGOs
[non-governmental organizations] can be a strong
partner to authorities and other stakeholders in de-
veloping peace education. (p. 4)
When moral exclusion and moral inclusion are
core components of peace education curricula,
they offer students a framework for understanding
how a limited applicability of justice can fuel de-
structive conflict.
Moral Exclusion and Inclusion
Our scope of justice is the psychological
boundary within which concerns about fairness
govern our conduct (Deutsch, 1985; Opotow,
1990; Staub, 1990). A constricted scope of justice
limits contexts in which fairness is applicable,
whereas an expanded scope of justice extends jus-
tice further. Those who are inside this boundary
for fairness are morally included and seen as de-
serving fair treatment. Those outside are morally
excluded, beyond our moral concerns, and eligible
for deprivation, exploitation, and other harms that
might be ignored or condoned as normal, inevita-
ble, and deserved. In escalated, destructive con-
flict, moral exclusion routinely justifies human
rights violations and genocide (Opotow, 2001,
2002). Bystanders to injustice may also exclude
victims from the scope of justice when they ignore
or understate harms inflicted on others and do not
intervene (Lerner, 1980; Opotow & Weiss, 2000).
As Table 1 indicates, moral exclusion can be
subtle or blatant and it can be narrow or wide in
extent. Each form of moral exclusion is distinct,
but they have much in common. All are character-
ized by (a) seeing those excluded as psychologi-
cally distant from and unconnected with oneself;
(b) lacking constructive moral obligations toward
those excluded; (c) viewing those excluded as
nonentities, expendable, and undeserving of fair-
Opotow, Gerson, and Woodside From Moral Exclusion to Moral Inclusion: Theory for Teaching Peace
ness and community resources that could foster
their well-being; and (d) approving of procedures
and outcomes for those excluded that would be
unacceptable for those inside the scope of justice.
In extreme harmdoing, moral exclusion is bla-
tant. But moral exclusion can be subtle and diffi-
cult to detect when it is socially condoned. Even
when it is subtle, moral exclusion is evident in a
number of symptoms, described in Table 2, which
include dehumanization, fearing contamination
from social contact, reducing one’s moral stan-
dards, normalizing violence, displacement of re-
sponsibility, and psychological distancing.
From Moral Exclusion
to Moral Inclusion
Achieving a stable peace based on social jus-
tice requires a shift from moral exclusion to moral
inclusion. Peace is possible “when society agrees
that the overarching purpose of public policies is
the achievement and maintenance of mutually
beneficial circumstances that enhance the life pos-
sibilities of all” (Reardon, 2001, p. 5).
Moral inclusion is a fundamental and strategic
principle of peace education because it means the
willingness to (a) extend fairness to others, (b) al-
locate resources to them, and (c) make sacrifices
that would foster their well-being (Opotow, 1990).
For moral inclusion to be effective, it needs to be
substantial and sustained so that all levels of so-
ciety, from grassroots to state-level, and all
subpopulations, including people who are illiter-
ate and from remote areas, are included in the pro-
cess of social change and share in social resources
(Opotow, 2002). If moral inclusion is superficial,
narrow, or short lived, it can disappoint, recreate
unjust conditions, and result in destructive conflict
and war.
Applying Moral Exclusion/Inclusion
in Peace Education
Educators can use Moral Exclusion Theory to
systematize their study of conflict, war, and peace.
We illustrate this in four interrelated social prob-
lems that are key areas of peace education: educa-
tion for coexistence, education for human rights,
education for gender equality, and education for
environmentalism. We also provide links that sug-
gest the array of Internet resources that educators
can use in their curriculum (see Appendix A).
Educating for Coexistence
Educating for coexistence (also called diversity
education and multicultural education) addresses
acute and chronic between-group tensions fos-
tered by religious and ethnic intolerance. Consis-
tent with research on ethnocentric conflict
(Stephan & Stephan, 1996), groups in conflict
have derogatory stereotypes about each other that
justify excluding members of opposing groups
from their scope of justice. Due to self-serving bi-
ases, violent behavior of one’s own group is seen
Peace Education
Table 1
Forms of Moral Exclusion
Extent of Moral Exclusion
Manifestations of Moral Exclusion
Subtle Blatant
Narrow Rudeness, intimidation, and derogation
(e.g., bullying and sexual harassment)
Persecution and violence directed at
particular individuals or groups (e.g.,
hate crimes, witch hunts)
Wide Oppression and structural violence (e.g.,
racism, sweatshops, poverty, domestic
Direct violence and violations of human
rights (e.g., ethnic cleansing, mass
murder, inquisitions)
Note. Adapted from Opotow, 2001.
as appropriate and fair whereas analogous behav-
ior by an opponent is seen as abhorrent and pro-
vocative (Opotow, 2001; White, 1984).
Educating for coexistence seeks to replace de-
humanizing stereotypes, chronic distrust, hostility,
violence, and moral exclusion with, first, tolerance
and minimal cooperation and, ultimately, with
moral inclusion—increasing the applicability of
justice, sharing of resources, and making sacrifices
that could foster joint well-being. Dialogue groups,
sharing personal narratives, and collaborating on
mutually beneficial projects are methods that pro-
mote coexistence by increasing trust and coopera-
tion through positive contacts among members of
conflicting groups (Maoz, 2005).
Coexistence education can be a learning expe-
rience. However, because one party in conflict of-
ten has more power than the other, coexistence ed-
ucation may have different meaning for groups
with more and less power (Gerson & Opotow,
2004). Due to conventional economic and political
arrangements, members of low-power groups
within social structures often serve and observe
members of high-power groups and therefore have
an expert understanding that helps them to survive
(Kidder, 2000). Coexistence education can be an
opportunity for this awareness to become mutual.
If members of high-power groups can learn to hu-
manize rather than ignore or disparage members
of low-power groups and then come to see the in-
equitable distribution of privilege and disadvan-
tage within their society, it can stimulate an under-
standing of how moral exclusion is normalized by
existing power arrangements and the long-term
negative effects of these arrangements on individ-
uals, families, communities, and nations. In spite
of positive changes that can result from coex-
istence education, however, between-group ten-
Opotow, Gerson, and Woodside From Moral Exclusion to Moral Inclusion: Theory for Teaching Peace
Table 2
Symptoms of Moral Exclusion
Symptom Description
Double standards Having different norms for different groups
Concealing effects of harmful
Disregarding, ignoring, distorting, or minimizing injurious outcomes that
others experience
Reducing moral standards Asserting that one’s harmful behavior is proper while denying one’s lesser
concern for others
Utilizing euphemisms Masking and sanitizing harmful behavior and outcomes
Biased evaluation of groups Making unflattering between-group comparisons that bolster one’s own
group at the expense of others
Condescension and derogation Regarding others with disdain
Dehumanization Denying others’ rights, entitlements, humanity, and dignity
Fear of contamination Perceiving contact or alliances with other stakeholders as posing a threat to
Normalization and
glorification of violence
Glorifying and normalizing violence; viewing violence as an effective,
legitimate, or even sublime form of human behavior while denying the
potential of violence to damage people, the environment, relationships,
and constructive conflict resolution processes
Victim blaming Placing blame on those who are harmed
Deindividuation Believing one’s contribution to social problems is undetectable
Diffusing responsibility Denying personal responsibility for harms by seeing them as the result of
collective rather than individual decisions and actions
Displacing responsibility Identifying others, such as subordinates or supervisors, as responsible for
harms inflicted on victims
Note. Adapted from Opotow, 1990 and Opotow & Weiss, 2000.
sions may remain when coexistence efforts that
occur at the micro-level do not translate into
macro-level structural change (Bar-On, 2000).
Educating for Human Rights
Blatant examples of human rights violations in-
clude “extrajudicial killing, genocide, disappear-
ance, rape, torture, and severe ill treatment”
(Crocker, 2000, p. 99). These violations of civil
and political rights are one of three categories of
human rights (
1. Civil and political rights, including the right
to life, liberty, and security; political partici-
pation; freedom of opinion, expression,
thought, conscience, and religion; freedom
of association and assembly; and freedom
from torture and slavery.
2. Economic and social rights, including the
right to work; education; a reasonable stan-
dard of living; food; shelter and health care.
3. Environmental, cultural, and developmental
rights, including the right to live in an envi-
ronment that is clean and protected from de-
struction, and rights to cultural, political, and
economic development.
Human rights are universal and inviolable. This
means that they apply to everyone regardless of
gender, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and
political or other beliefs, and they cannot be taken
away, as described in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (
rights.html).1Peace education for human rights
not only studies violations, but it also studies stan-
dards delineated in such documents as the Univer-
sal Declaration of Human Rights, international
treaties negotiated through the United Nations
system,2and statutes of international courts. Hu-
man rights, as detailed in these documents, may
seem abstract, but they come alive when students
study the genocide in Rwanda, civilian deaths
in Iraq, and torture of prisoners in Abu-Ghraib
and prisons throughout the world. Students, their
families, and members of their communities may
themselves have experienced human rights viola-
tions resulting from racism, apartheid, or political,
ethnic, religious, or gender violence.
In addition to learning from vivid, powerful
historical and contemporary examples of human
rights violations and from personal experiences,
educating for human rights promotes moral inclu-
sion when students learn to recognize less obvious
aspects of human rights—the politics that devise,
support, and conceal human rights abuses
(Opotow, 2002). Students learn to recognize con-
tradictions between a rhetoric supporting human
rights and the failure to protect victims or punish
violators. These gaps identify opportunities for
bystanders—individuals, groups, communities,
and nations—to act for social justice.
Educating for Gender Equality
Peace education for gender equality focuses on
injustice and violence experienced by women and
girls in interpersonal, community, institutional,
and societal contexts. Gender-related injustice can
be a pervasive yet invisible problem in oppressive,
violent, and exploitative relationships at home, at
work, and in the larger community. Interna-
tionally, it includes female infanticide (Sen,
1999), trafficking of women and girls in the sex
trade (Shahinian, 2002), and the intentional use of
violence and rape in war (McKay, 1998). Gender
inequality and violence excludes or diminishes the
participation of half of humanity from economic,
political, legal, and social affairs.
Throughout the world, women are poorer and
are less likely to be educated than men. In many
countries, women may not inherit family wealth or
own land, perpetuating their disadvantage and de-
pendence. Women experience discrimination in
societies characterized by violations of the basic
human rights to self-determination and misogyny,
but they also experience discrimination in more
egalitarian societies when women work longer
hours than men, earn lower wages, and carry a
larger share of housework (
ESRCContent/news/feb05–5.asp). Even among
children, boys have more leisure time whereas
Peace Education
girls do more household chores (Unger &
Crawford, 1992).
Disadvantaged in peace (Denmark, Rabino-
witz, & Sechzer, 2000), women are even more dis-
advantaged in war. They are overrepresented
among victims of conflict, and, in postconflict re-
construction efforts, they are underrepresented as
decision-makers, administrators, and judges
(McKay, 1998; Morris, 1998). Rape as a tactic of
war (e.g., in Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and
Indonesia) has long-lasting negative sequellae for
victims who survive and are then ostracized by
families or communities (Swiss & Giller, 1993).
Poverty, an inadequate diet, a heavy workload
made heavier by family deaths, unresolved grief,
continuous harassment, and fear of further vio-
lence also compromise women’s physical and
mental health as a result of war (Zur, 1996).
Peace education for gender equality focuses on
disparities (e.g., income, health, and decision-
making responsibility) between men and women
and examines the assumptions, traditions, and op-
pressive structural arrangements that systemati-
cally disadvantage women. Students learn to criti-
cally examine a variety of social contexts and to
question who speaks, who decides, who benefits,
who is absent, and who is expected to make sacri-
fices. These critical analyses can reveal gender in-
equalities and moral exclusion that permeate daily
life locally, nationally, and globally, and suggest
ways to increase moral inclusion. As the result of
persistent and collaborative activism, moral inclu-
sion of women has increased and, to some extent,
been institutionalized throughout the world in
governmental policies, national and international
laws,3and in more accurate reporting of viola-
tions. These structural changes build on one an-
other and offer students hope for furthering gender
balance and social justice.
Educating for Environmentalism
Environmental issues present an urgent chal-
lenge throughout the world. Air, water, and land
pollution, and the overuse of natural resources
continue at alarming rates, increasingly straining
the Earth’s capacity to sustain healthy ecosystems
and human life. Damage to the natural world re-
sults from the way we go about our daily lives,
commercial uses of natural resources and byprod-
ucts of industry, as well as war and military activi-
ties (e.g., nuclear testing). Environmental degra-
dation is often viewed as a technological problem
with technological solutions (e.g., the develop-
ment of renewable energy resources), but it is also
a psychological problem because it results from
the way we understand our relationship to nature
(Clayton & Opotow, 2003). Environmental pro-
tection is less likely when we see ourselves as un-
connected to and outside of nature. When nature is
excluded from our scope of justice we can deny
the severity, extent, and irreversibility of environ-
mental destruction, deny the entitlements of other
people, future generations, and nonhuman entities
to natural resources, and deny our own role—as
individuals and collectives—in advancing envi-
ronmental degradation.
Environmentalism refers to environmentally
protective attitudes, positions, and behavior. Edu-
cating for environmentalism focuses on the ex-
ploitation and degradation of the natural world as
critical problems. It extends peace education be-
yond human groups to the inclusion of the Earth,
its animals, plants, inanimate habitats, and com-
mons (e.g., air, rivers, oceans) within the scope of
justice (Leopold, 1949). Environmentalism pro-
motes moral inclusion when it prompts a rethink-
ing of our relationship with and responsibility to-
ward diverse aspects of nature. Environmental
conservation is more complex than simply pro-
tecting nature. To be effective it requires recogniz-
ing the needs, interests, and perspectives of a vari-
ety of people. Considering other environmental
stakeholders (human and nonhuman) within the
realm of what matters to us can offer broad-based
and long-term support for environmental conser-
vation (Opotow & Brook, 2003). International
treaties4stress ecological awareness and coopera-
tion to deter environmental degradation and pro-
mote conservation. The Living Systems Model,
developed by ecologists and used in peace educa-
tion, emphasizes the interdependence and vulner-
ability of living systems and the importance of
caring for all living beings and systems, including
Opotow, Gerson, and Woodside From Moral Exclusion to Moral Inclusion: Theory for Teaching Peace
those that cannot act on their own behalf. This
model challenges the idea of security as military
force and argues for security that depends on inter-
dependence and caring for those who are vulnera-
ble (Gerson et al., 1997). Children throughout the
world, from urban and rural communities and
from well-to-do and poor families, have partici-
pated in educational projects in schools. These
projects promote environmentalism through
studying and advocating for recycling, compost-
ing, and wise disposal of waste. Students have also
mapped their community’s ecological and cultural
resources as a learning and activist project that
emphasizes the connection between local environ-
mental issues and the development of sustainable
communities (Hart, 1997).
In summary, when moral exclusion and moral
inclusion are core components of educating for
coexistence, human rights, gender equality, and
environmentalism, they direct students’ attention
to assumptions, stereotypes, and societal arrange-
ments that fuel destructive conflict and war. A
peace education pedagogy that exposes moral ex-
clusion and promotes moral inclusion will encour-
age critical inquiry and experiential learning as the
forerunner of constructive societal change.
Walking the Talk: Bringing Peace
Education Home
Well-designed peace education programs (see
examples in Apendix A) convey useful infor-
mation and pedagogical approaches. Generic
programs, however, cannot address issues faced
by particular students or schools, such as hos-
tility directed at Muslim students after 9/11
911backlash/911backlash.pdf), students who are
“out” about their sexual orientation and face peer
rejection (Griffin & Ouellett, 2003), or students
who feel excluded when they are labeled as aca-
demically inadequate (Sanon, Baxter, Fortune, &
Opotow, 2001). Two issues, bullying and text-
book bias, illustrate how peace education, in-
formed by moral exclusion theory, can replace an
exclusionary status quo with more inclusionary
attitudes and actions.
In bullying, harassment, and violence system-
atically intimidate and disrupt the well-being
of victims. Bullying is common; 1 in 10 students
are harassed regularly (Olweus, 1993). Bullying
has negative consequences for victims, bystand-
ers, and institutions (e.g., work, jails, schools) in
which it occurs.
Bullying can negatively affect a school’s cli-
mate by normalizing interpersonal aggression. It
can be pervasive yet remain unaddressed by
school staff or the peace education curriculum. A
program developed and tested in Norway illus-
trates how bullying can be halted to change a
school climate from fear and violence to respect
and safety (Olweus, 1993). This program opera-
tionalizes moral inclusion by emphasizing a
school, home, and community culture character-
ized by warmth toward and positive interest
in children; support and protection for victims;
clear limits on unacceptable, antisocial behavior;
clear and consistently applied nonhostile sanc-
tions for rule violations; and appropriate observa-
tion of student activities. It has been replicated
to prevent or reduce bullying in elementary, mid-
dle, and junior high schools (http://modelprograms. FactSheets/Olweus%20Bully.pdf;
Educational materials have the potential to fos-
ter stereotyping and exclusion; they can also foster
mutual understanding. A textbook project in Af-
ghanistan seeks to replace religious and warlike
themes with themes promoting peace, stability,
and human rights (Gall, 2004). A collaborative
project of Teachers College of Columbia Univer-
sity, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the
Afghanistan Ministry of Education, will publish
texts in four local languages and introduce a teach-
ing style new to Afghanistan that encourages stu-
dent participation and active, experiential learning
rather than rote memorization.
In PRIME’s5Writing the Shared History project
in Israel, Jewish and Palestinian teachers and histo-
rians worked collaborativelyto design a textbook to
Peace Education
“disarm the teaching of Middle East history in Is-
raeli and Palestinian classrooms” (http://vispo.
com/PRIME/leohn.htm). It has published a graphi-
cally striking history book, focused on several peri-
ods of national conflict. Each page is divided into
thirds. One column describes the Palestinian per-
spective in Arabic; another column describes the
Jewish perspective in Hebrew. A third column is
blank, encouraging students to write about the
same period as it affected their own family or com-
munity (
audio/chaitin-j.html). This approach emphasizes
how history affects differently situated people as
well as the importance of one’s own standpoint for
interpreting historical events (Collins, 2004). Rec-
ognizing that textbooks can influence and change
attitudes, both projects operationalize moral inclu-
sion by challenging stereotypes and widening the
scope of justice.
Peace educators can also encourage students to
critically examine their own educational materials
for exclusionary attitudes. Howard Zinn’s A Peo-
ple’s History of the United States (1980), for ex-
ample, presents history from the perspective of
oppressed people. This approach is instructive be-
cause it presents an underrepresented perspective.
For students from resource-poor groups, critical
examination of history can bring their own com-
munity’s experiences into the classroom in ways
that make learning come alive (Pratt, 1991; http:// For stu-
dents from resource-rich groups, critical examina-
tion can challenge widely accepted and self-serv-
ing myths of superiority, accomplishment, and
valor, educating students about perspectives they
may have never considered (Fine & Weis, 2001).
Georg Simmel (1955) has observed that “the
transition from war to peace constitutes a more se-
rious problem than does the reverse” (p. 109).
Peace education seeks to effect this difficult shift
from spiraling deadly conflict to an inclusionary
orientation for individuals, groups, and larger col-
lectives. Rather than see moral exclusion as some-
thing done by bad people, it is important to under-
stand it as a human capacity—something we all do
(Opotow, 1995). Peace education programs can
sharpen critical skills, examine taken-for-granted
assumptions, and rethink the status quo.Peace ed-
ucation itself sometimes suffers from moral exclu-
sion in schools when it is dismissed as wishy-
washy and touchy-feely by teachers or administra-
tors. Coupling moral exclusion theory with such
crucial issues as coexistence, human rights, gen-
der equality, and environmentalism makes it clear
that peace education addresses grave, timely, and
relevant topics that need to be studied by students
of all ages.
Consistent with PRIME’s Writing the Shared
History project and the Afghan text project, stu-
dents need to actively participate in their educa-
tion. Most students experience the complexity of
social relations in conflicts with peers. Because
these conflicts engage participants (and often, by-
standers) they also have pedagogical potential
(Opotow, 1991). At the core of these conflicts are
moral questions concerning right and wrong, re-
sponsibilities, and acceptable social norms. Be-
cause these conflicts generate discomfort and can
take an unpredictable course, they can motivate
learning about communication, perspective tak-
ing, and problem solving. They also offer junc-
tures for students to engage with adults to learn
about themselves, crucial conflict resolution
skills, and the relationship between everyday con-
flict and peace (Opotow, 2004).
This article urges attention to all levels of con-
flict, from the interpersonal and local to the inter-
national. To be effective, peace education should
avoid a constricted focus that romanticizes an un-
sustainable, tranquil vision of peace. Instead it
should capture the dynamic and pressing nature of
social tensions and mobilize this urgency to reex-
amine social arrangements that institutionalize in-
equality and injustice. Peace education as moral
inclusion challenges us to imagine how things
could be different as a result of widening the appli-
cability of justice to people throughout the world
and to the nonhuman natural world. It also entails
action. Utilizing natural, social, and manmade re-
sources more cautiously and the willingness to
share resources to reduce inequality is at the heart
of an inclusive and dynamic peace education.
Opotow, Gerson, and Woodside From Moral Exclusion to Moral Inclusion: Theory for Teaching Peace
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Peace Education
Appendix A
Annotated Resource for Peace Educators
A. General Information: Peace Education
A1. Informative Web sites:
OXFAM network Forum for individuals to share resources
Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Peace
Education Action Committee
Information about peace education resources and
application of psychological knowledge to peace
World Council for Curriculum and Instruction International issues from theoretical and practical
A2. Web sites presenting curricula:
Free the Children Advocacy projects created by and for youth
Hague Appeal for Peace: Global Campaign for
Peace Education
Curriculum, resources, and advocacy materials
Oxfam Teachable resources on world issues
B. Educating for Coexistence (e.g., tolerance, coexistence, racism, gender equality, healthy relationships, social justice, multiculturalism)
B1. Informative Web sites:
Racism No Way Classroom materials to help recognize and eliminate
Southern Poverty Law Center Web Project Resources for schools and teachers on teaching tolerance
United Nations Cyberschoolbus Teaching materials for educational use and training
teachers; promotes education about international issues
United Nations Education, Social, and Cultural
Organization Materials on tolerance, learning to live together, and other
educational resources
Women’s Educational Media Films for teaching inclusion of diverse groups
B2. Web sites presenting curricula:
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Lessons for using visual arts to teach coexistence
Educators for Social Responsibility, National Lessons for teaching conflict resolution and inclusion with
a national and international emphasis
Educators for Social Responsibility, New York
City Lessons for teaching conflict resolution and inclusion
developed for urban schools
Men for Change
Lessons for promoting positive masculinity and ending
sexism and violence
Social Justice Education Lessons and advocacy opportunities for social justice and
learning to organize for social change
C. Educating for Human Rights (e.g., rights of refugees, women, crimes against humanity and genocide, comprehensive human rights, equal opportunity,
indigenous rights)
C1. Informative Web sites:
Center for Constitutional Rights U.S. and international legal issues presented in reports,
publications and other resources
Derechos Human rights network and resource site
Human Rights Internet Internet links to human rights resources
International Network for Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights International chat room for human rights activists to
exchange information and ideas
People’s Movement for Human Rights
Education Resources on human rights education and advocacy
United Nations and the International Criminal
Court (ICC) Statutes of the International Criminal Court that define
crimes of humanity and war crimes
UNESCO Human Rights Education
Human rights documents including declarations,
covenants, conventions, protocols, and platforms for
Appendix A (Continued)
C2. Web sites presenting curricula:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
Department of Education and Training Teaching materials and case studies on refugee, women’s,
and indigenous rights
Australian Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission Teacher and student resources on racism, sexism,
indigenous, and disabilities rights
United Nations High Commission on Refugees
Teaching materials on refugee issues including curricula,
games, and information brochures
U. of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center Curricula, topic guides, fact sheets and featured lessons on
human rights
D. Educating for Gender Equality (e.g., gender equality, training and development, sex discrimination, law, men’s roles in gender equality, advocacy)
D1. Informative Web sites:
Canadian International Development Agency Tools for integrating gender equality into education and
the workplace
CEDAW: Treaty on the Status of Women UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women and updates on its
Commission on the Status of Women Recommendations to the UN on promoting women’s rights
in the political and other arenas
Men’s Bibliography
Resources for social change
San Francisco Commission on the Status of
The City of San Francisco’s official document on
eliminating discrimination against women. Models how a
city can develop laws to foster gender inclusion.
UNIFEM-United Nations Development Fund
for Women Resources on the use of international treaties and law to
build legal protection for women
Women’s Human Rights Resources Resources, fact sheets, and advocacy guides on
international women’s rights law
D2. Web sites presenting curricula:
Amnesty International—USA Human rights teaching guides, lesson plans, and Urgent
Actions geared to students
Human Rights Watch Reports and advocacy programs against trafficking of
women and girls
White Ribbon Campaign
Lesson plans to explore attitudes/behavior that contribute
to men’s exclusion of women
E. Educating for Environmentalism
E1. Informative Web sites:
Earth Charter Information on the Earth Charter, a teaching resource
database and resources for youth groups
Earth Summit+5 and http://
Information and program of action from the Earth Summit
+5 The UN General Assembly Resolution for the
Programme for Implementation of Agenda 21+5
Rio Earth Summit 1992 Information about the 1992 Rio Earth Summit
E2. Web sites presenting curricula:
Earth Charter Lessons and activities for teaching about the Earth Charter
Green Map System (GMS) Rationale and activities for making local maps of
ecological and cultural resources and degradation
UNESCO Resources and curriculum for a sustainable environment
YouthCaN Youth run organization; activities and projects concerning
environmental issues to inspire, educate and connect youth
Appendix A (Continued)
... Within the moral economy framework, rules of fairness condition the general conduct of people towards each other [26,27]. On the basis of the prevailing moral economy there are those included and those excluded. ...
... On the basis of the prevailing moral economy there are those included and those excluded. In moral economy, moral inclusion those who are inside and are therefore deserving of just and fair treatment [27]. This then frames how those included should be treated and those excluded should fair. ...
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The current migration of Africans to Europe and North America evokes trepidation and fear among citizens of European countries and their counter parts in the Americas. Despite clear lack of objectivity the migration discourses, continue to frame and condition migration policy responses and governance. What Landau calls “moral panic” at the foundation of this discourse. While it is true, a sizable number of Africans are fleeing political persecution and violence in their home countries, a big proportion is perceived to be looking for economic opportunities (greener pastures) to better their lives and that of their kin. The dominant narratives of failed states and debilitating poverty as the drivers of migration ignore the possibilities that it could be similar economic and social transformations that caused European migration to Africa and other parts of the World in the 19th Century. Here in we argue that a simplistic conclusion about poverty as the main driver of African migration does not reflect the complete reality, that socio-economic transformation and not poverty per se are the main drivers of African emigration not dissimilar to what Europe went through in the 19th Century.
... At the same time, the Guarani-Kaiowa's own singularisation is their best hope of resistance and the main force that allows them to continue hoping for a better life under a different world order. Meaningful social and economic justice requires a shift to moral inclusion, what needs to be promoted and sustained at all levels and locations to avoid recreating injustices (Opotow et al., 2005). The refutation of the reductionism of a single, given reality of the world represents an ontological political practice based on the political dimension of ontology and on the ontological dimension of politics (Escobar, 2015). ...
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Although genocide is an expression commonly used today in relation to the dramatic challenges faces by indigenous peoples around the world, the significance of the Guarani–Kaiowa genocidal experience is not casual and cannot be merely sloganised. The indigenous genocide unfolding in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul – Kaiowcide – is not just a case of hyperbolic violence or widespread murdering, but it is something qualitatively different from other serious crimes committed against marginalised, subaltern communities. Kaiowcide is actually the reincarnation of old genocidal practices of agrarian capitalism employed to extend and unify the national territory. In other words, Kaiowcide has become a necessity of mainstream development, whilst the sanctity of regional economic growth and private rural property are excuses invoked to justify the genocidal trail. The phenomenon combines strategies and procedures based on the competition and opposition between groups of people who dispute the same land and the relatively scarce social opportunities of an agribusiness-based economy. Many lessons must be learned and could directly contribute to improve democracy, justice and the rule of law in the country.
... To assess moral inclusion in dentists, Yu et al. [26,27] utilized the concept of moral community. As per Yu et al. [26,27], according to Opotow [19,28], moral inclusion is generally applied to people who fall within the boundary of one's moral community, i.e. those people with whom one is strongly connected and to whom one feels morally obligated. These people are referred to as belonging to one's "in-group" [20]. ...
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Background Under dentistry’s social contract with the public, dental professionals have a social responsibility to address the oral health needs of the population at large. However, dental education places little emphasis on such moral commitments. By ascertaining dental students’ stance regarding these notions, we may be able to inform changes in dental education. This paper thus explores dental students’ comprehension of dentistry’s social contract using the concepts of moral inclusion, moral community and empathy. Methods A cross-sectional online survey collected information from undergraduate dental students at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto (N = 430). Moral inclusion was assessed through the breadth of students’ moral community by computing a “moral inclusion score” (MIS) from Likert scale responses to statements that asked students about their duty of care for different population groups, wherein a higher MIS indicated a broader moral community and in turn greater moral inclusiveness. Empathy was assessed using Likert scale responses to statements that gauged the extent to which students understood the effect of social determinants on people’s health. Association of the MIS with environmental, institutional and student-related factors was also investigated using non-parametric tests and linear regression. Results The survey yielded a response rate of 51.4% (n = 221). Overall, students in this sample were morally inclusive and displayed empathy. Regression results showed that the MIS was most strongly associated with choosing a small town/rural area as a future practice location (β = 4.76, 95% CI: 0.52, 9.01) and viewing patients as consumers (β = -3.71, 95%CI: -7.13, -0.29). Conclusion Students in this sample made morally inclusive choices, which implied that they had a basic understanding of the obligations under dentistry’s social contract. Improving knowledge and experience with regards to addressing the social and economic determinants of oral health and access to oral health care may positively influence students’ perceptions of their professional duties under the social contract.
... Mutual support teaches sensitivity and influences progress in the social understanding of the phenomenon of norm and pathology. Teaching together all children from a given area also allows non-disabled peers to develop acceptance, tolerance, and solidarity (Opotow et al., 2005;Qvortrup & Qvortrup, 2018). ...
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RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: The main purpose of this research was to assess teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education (IE) of students with special developmental needs in the school space. The article is a comparative study in which teachers from Polish and South African schools – special and public schools – took part. THE RESEARCH PROBLEM AND METHODS: Following a pragmatic paradigm, a quantitative strategy and diagnostic survey method were applied. The specially prepared tool, the Scale for Attitudes Towards IE, was used to generate data. Confirming the normal distribution of variables, ANOVA and t-test were used for independent variables and descriptive statistics.. For post-hoc analyses, Tukey’s HSD test was used for equal or different N. THE PROCESS OF ARGUMENTATION: The own research on teachers’ attitudes towards IE was preceded by theoretical considerations on the idea of educational inclusion. Determinants supporting the inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools were identified. RESEARCH RESULTS: In the overall assessment of attitudes towards inclusive education there were no statistically significant intergroup differences between teachers in Polish and South African schools. However, clear differences emerged in post-hoc analyses of the variables such as: type of the institution and seniority. CONCLUSIONS, INNOVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: The presented international comparative research on teachers’ attitudes towards IE takes into account not only the current state, but also the historical context of both nations, marked by the stigma of segregation and the fight against discrimination. The study shows how it is important to pay attention to the process of teachers’ education – pedagogues, especially, the ones prepared to work in mainstream institutions, for eliminating barriers, adapting curricula to the students’ individual needs, and building openness. It is essential to monitor the correlation between seniority and the direction and intensity of attitudes towards education open for all.
Moral exclusion refers to the perception that a person or group exists outside the scope of justice, which is a psychological boundary encompassing those to whom moral consideration is extended. Morally excluded groups are more likely to be viewed as legitimate targets of harm or prejudice. Moral inclusion, in contrast, can foster community‐building relationships. Research has found that perceived threat, utility, similarity, and deservingness are all factors influencing whom is to be included or excluded from the scope of justice. Peace education interventions, particularly those emphasizing perspective‐taking and/or human rights may promote moral inclusion, but social and political support are also crucial.
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Despite attention to the importance of the role of women in peacemaking, there is a curious gap in the peace education literature in gender differences research and study of the specific impact of peace education on girls and women. In this article, we explore some of the reasons for this trend and propose that looking for differences is important to maintain awareness of gendered experiences, the settings in which they exist, and those in which they are absent. Further, we suggest that the principles underpinning the approach to peace and peace pedagogies, in this case Bahá’í concepts of human nobility, the equality of women and men, and the oneness of humanity, and related discursive values, help to foster ‘equal benefit’ environments. We describe our exercise of disaggregating pre- and post-course responses from a Bahá’í-inspired university peace education classroom of twenty students, findings of overall similarity, and particular themes in some women’s responses. Finally, we discuss the lessons learned from an exploratory stance: developing an approach to discourse analysis that focuses on pedagogical insight, the creation of an ‘equal benefit’ learning experience, drawing out strengths and building new capacity in the classroom, and using student perceptions to improve research and practice. Link to full text:
Full-text available
The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between the perception of youth to Egyptian national security threats and their attitude toward peace and war depending on their social responsibility, The sample included a total of (369), (Male=160, female =209), with an average age (m=25.13 sd ± 5.030), responded to a questionnaire included socio-demographic characteristics, threats of Egyptian national security scale, social responsibility scale by the researcher, and attitude toward war and peace scale by Buzimic et al., (2013), The result showed the sample tended to be higher in attitude towards peace (t = 36.46 p< 0.000). and there are no significant differences in perceived national security threats (t=0.066 P>0.947) and attitude toward peace (t=0.980 p>0.025) when controlling for gender, males tend to be higher in social responsibility (t= 3.829 p> 0.000), and attitude toward war (t=3.105 p<0.002), the people most in social responsibility more attitude to war than peace, and there are significant positive correlation between perceiving national security threats and social responsibility (0.187**)and attitude toward peace (r=0.274**).
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions look to the past to envision a better future. After years (1991–2002) of brutal conflict in Sierra Leone, there existed a need to confront a war that was characterized by widespread atrocities. The nation wanted to know what precipitated the war, but also how did it engulf its most precious resource, children, and youth?. At the start of the conflict, Sierra Leone was a nation of the young, with nearly half of its population composed of children and young adults. How can their energy and aspirations help the nation chart a new way forward? These questions gave birth to this chapter and to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report for the Children of Sierra Leone. No truth commission in the past had ever produced such a report making it a relatively new and understudied phenomenon. Children are increasingly becoming a focus of truth commissions as societies with large youth populations seek more sustainable solutions to peace and development. This chapter describes how the child-friendly version of Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report came about and how it gave special attention to the experiences of children and youth within the armed conflict. The second section examined how large marginalized youth populations can become key participants in the peace and reconciliation process. The third section examines how centering the needs and aspirations of young people are critical to societies with youth majorities.KeywordsSierra LeoneTruth and Reconciliation CommissionsYouth bulgeChildren
Explores the stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behavior of individuals and the manner in which these cognitions, feelings, and behaviors both affect others and are affected by others. Stephan and Stephan suggest measures to help overcome bias and improve intergroup relations that utilize techniques for eliminating stereotypes, reducing prejudice, and resolving conflicts in real-world situations. Designed to enrich all of our lives by combatting preconceptions, this book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of ourselves and others.The authors look at school desegregation in the United States as an extended case study. Throughout the book, they address social identity theory; culture shock and ethnocentrism; the effectiveness of deterrence, negotiation, mediation, and unilateral de-escalation; as well as the contact hypothesis.
The “belief in a just world” refers to those more or less articulated assumptions which underlie the way people orient themselves to their environment. These assumptions have a functional component which is tied to the image of a manageable and predictable world. These are central to the ability to engage in long-term goal-directed activity. In order to plan, work for, and obtain things they want, and avoid those which are frightening or painful, people must assume that there are manageable procedures which are effective in producing the desired end states (Erikson, 1950; Merton, 1957).
Youth conflicts can range from fleeting quarrels to more enduring antipathies expressed as violence toward individuals or groups. These conflicts can inflict physical and psychological harm, and when they fester, they can siphon off energy from more productive activities. However, conflicts also have positive potential. They can surface urgent concerns and motivate positive change by stimulating individuals, groups, or organizations to approach issues with fresh insight. Conflicts challenge us to be sufficiently attentive to learn from the dissonant understandings that give rise to conflicts and to be sufficiently skilled to resolve them constructively. This chapter argues that for adults and organizations that seek to nurture morality in youths, conflicts can be an underappreciated and valuable resource.