Peace research focuses on the study of war, which it understands as a destructive, violent conflict, as well as on (social) violence in general. However, she is also concerned with researching constructive, peace-promoting conflict resolution - in particular with the possibilities and conditions of containing, reducing or transforming (primarily collective) violence and the practice, construction or emergence of (political, socio-cultural and socio-psychological) peace. Accordingly, the double term “peace and conflict research” is used very often to describe the discipline.
Peace research is thus characterized (a) by its focus on (organized) social violence, especially the institution of war, and (b) by its normative orientation: reducing violence, also overcoming the institution of war, and building peace. According to Egbert Jahn, peace research is an “interdisciplinary research complex” or, according to Sabine Jaberg, “a research program with variable content that can assume different disciplinary aggregate states.”
In this sense, one can also include the fields of “Peace Education”, “Global Citizenship Education”, “Alps-Adriatic” or “Literature and Society” of peace research. However, for the sake of clarity, they are presented separately here. Overlaps are unavoidable.
Activities and research focus
My occupation with many fields of peace research has gradually developed from the fields of "Culture and Peace" and "Peace Education". A milestone was the founding of the Center for Peace Research and Peace Education (ZFF) at the Alpen-Adria-Universität in 2005, together with Brigitte Hipfl and Helga Rabenstein-Moser, with strong support from Dean Karl Stuhlpfarrer and Rector Günther Hödl. Compare the work of the ZFF, of which I was director for many years, the brochure “Center for Peace Research and Peace Education. Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Faculty of Cultural Studies” (2008):
A detailed overview with an assessment of the activities of the center can be found in this essay by Bettina Gruber and Werner Wintersteiner: https://www.aau.at/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ZFF-entwicklung-arbeitsfelder-perpesktiven.pdf
1000 women for peace
(2005 to 2006)
The Support for the international project that nominated 1,000 women from around the world for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize (including five women from Austria, including a former student from the University of Klagenfurt), representing the millions of women working in peace work, was one of the first important actions of the newly founded Peace Center, together with the Institute for Media Communication. Brigitte Hipfl and Christina Schachtner developed accompanying research. A detailed report can be found in the first Yearbook Peace Culture.
Yearbook Peace Culture
(2006 to 2016, 10 volumes)
The ZFF has had that from the start Yearbook Peace Culture published, on the one hand as a performance show of the center, on the other hand as a contribution to the discussion for the international scientific community. (Claudia Brunner, Bettina Gruber, Viktorija Ratković, Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle and I were in charge). The focus on culture of peace should mark a specific profile of the Klagenfurt center. (See. https://www.aau.at/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/wintersteiner-kultur-des-friedens-als-leitbegriff.pdf)
Culture & Conflict
(Research and publication program, 2009 to 2016, 8 volumes)
The program was implemented by the interfaculty research network "Culture & Conflict" at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt (women's and gender studies, peace research and cultural studies) in the form of conferences and workshops. (see also the field of work "Literature and Society”)
Interactive conflict management
(Research and publication project 2012 to 2016)
Wilfried Graf, with whom I worked closely, was responsible for this research field of the ZFF, also within the framework of the Herbert C. Kelman Institute for Interactive Conflict Transformation (HKI). The result is a number of publications in journals, the publication of a book with selected texts by conflict researcher Herbert C. Kelman (DOI https://doi.org/10.4324/978131565966) and three international conferences at Harvard University, where Herbert C. Kelman worked in Cambridge “The Transformation of Intractable Conflicts. Perspectives and Challenges for Interactive Problem Solving” (Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University):
- 27-29 March 2014: https://www.kelmaninstitute.org/2014/05/26/the-transformation-of-intractable-conflicts-a-report-from-the-successful-conference-at-harvard/
- 17-19 September 2015: https://www.kelmaninstitute.org/2015/10/03/harvard-conference-on-conflict-resolution-in-the-current-conflicts-in-the-middle-east-and-in-europe-initiated-by-kelman-institute-and-ambassador-wolfgang-petritsch-ret/
- 16-18 March 2017: https://www.kelmaninstitute.org/2017/04/06/third-conference-on-intractable-conflicts-successfully-concluded/
A publication with the most important contributions from the three conferences will appear in 2023.
Another activity in this field was the Austrian-Slovenian project “Building the Peace Region Alps-Adriatic. Envisioning Future by Dealing with the Past.
Promoting open and inclusive public discourse within Austria and Slovenia and between the countries” (2014-2020). It will work in the field Alps-Adriatic shown in more detail.
Tourism & Peace
(Research and publication project 2012 to 2015)
This work area was headed by Cordula Wohlmuther. It was a collaborative project with UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid. His results were two publications: das International Handbook on Tourism and Peace and a study on peace tourism in the Alps-Adriatic region, which also appeared in book form: "There, where our grandfathers fought against each other..." The "peace paths" on the front line of the First World War: tourism and peace in the Alps-Adriatic region. For the International Handbook, the editors Wohlmuther and Wintersteiner were awarded the Book prize of the International Tourism Exchange (ITB) Berlin in the ITB Special Management Award category.
Carinthia, Alps-Adriatic, Southeastern Europe
This area of work played a major role in the work of the ZFF right from the start. He will in field of workAlps-Adriatic" presented.
History and record of the peace movement and peace research
(many years of individual research)
My focus in this extensive area of work is on the one hand studies on the peace movement in Austria, especially on the eve of the First World War (Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Fried). This resulted in various essays and the exhibition I curated, Thinking Peace into Reality! Peace thinkers and peace activists from Austria since the Second World War" as part of the 35th Summer Academy at Burg Schlaining 2018. A second focus is the history and current status of peace research in Austria, presented in some essays and especially in the one published together with Lisa Wolf A book Peace research in Austria. balance sheet and prospects (see publications below).
Subject: History: Peace Research (March 2019, Ö1) https://oe1.orf.at/programm/20190315/548682/Friedensforschung
The Conflict - Peace - Democracy - Cluster (CPDC)
(Permanent structured partnership 2011 to 2013)
At the beginning of 2011, competences previously distributed among four institutions were bundled in an initially limited cluster at Austria's only faculty for interdisciplinary research and further education (iff) at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Vienna and Graz. The institutes involved retained their identity, but an innovative "double structure" was intended to enable permanent cooperation and, in the long term, integration into university structures. This Conflict Peace Democracy Cluster (CPDC) was the cooperation of the ZFF of the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt with the three non-university institutions:
- Democracy Center Vienna
- Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ÖSFK) Schlaining (today ACP)
- Institute for Conflict Research (IFK) Vienna
This cooperation meant a lot for the ZFF, as it enabled new projects to be tackled that could not be managed internally, such as the realignment of the Schlaining summer academies or the handbook Peace Research - Conflict Research - Democracy Research.
Despite a very positive evaluation of the project, the rectorate of the University of Klagenfurt refused to continue the cluster. As a result, the University of Graz took over this coordination task. Please refer: https://frieden-konflikt.uni-graz.at/de/conflict-peace-democracy-cluster/
Network Peace and Conflict Research Austria (NEFKÖ)
The impetus for founding the network came in 2015 from a ZFF survey of experts on the situation of peace research in Austria. It revealed that there is a lack of networked, institutionalized and organized peace and conflict research. Since 2016, NeFKÖ has developed as a polyphonic association of people who are active in peace and conflict research and peace and conflict management in Austria: at universities and colleges, in educational institutions and associations, in non-governmental organizations and in the public service, as Self-employed or as private individuals - disciplinary, inter- and transdisciplinary, cross-generational and future-oriented. The goals of the NeFKÖ network are to strengthen and make visible peace and conflict research and peace work in Austria. It is organized through annual meetings and a coordination committee. See also: https://www.aspr.ac.at/forschung-1/nefkoe#/
Campaign Homeland Earth
(International campaign of the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in cooperation with the HKI, 2021)
The occasion was the 100th birthday of the French philosopher Edgar Morin, who in 1993 wrote in his book Terre Patrie developed the concept of planetary consciousness. Planetary consciousness means the insight that world peace and peace with nature are the closely related main tasks of humanity today. Morin provided a greeting to the campaign. Under my leadership, a 20-page manifesto was created, which is available in several languages. Other materials include a Homeland Earth film and Homeland Earth passport cover templates. A highlight was the International Summer Academy (September 2021) on this topic. More than 60 organizations, from China to Sri Lanka and the African continent to Latin America, joined the campaign, shared the manifesto and launched their own initiatives. Please refer: https://www.aspr.ac.at/bildung-training/aspr-kampagnen/heimatland-erde#/
Learning to rethink the world - a plea for planetary politics. Lessons from Corona and other existential crises. Bielefeld: transcript 2021. 212 pages. ISBN: 978-3-8376-5635-0. Downloads: https://www.transcript-verlag.de/media/pdf/a5/ac/38/oa9783839456354dMO1tjNetn68r.pdf
Ulrich Kaufmann, Werner Wintersteiner (eds.): Dober day. The Greeting Machine | Pozdravni stroj. A mouthpiece for better understanding in Carinthia | Glasilo za boljše razumevanje na Koroškem. Klagenfurt/Celovec: Hermagoras/Mohorjeva 2020. ISBN: 978-3-7086-1141-9.
Jan Brousek/Danijel Grafenauer/Werner Wintersteiner/Daniel Wutti (Eds. | ur.): SLOVENIA | AUSTRIA: Liberating Remembrance – Osvobajajoče spominjanje. Dialogic processing of the past – Dialoško obravnavanje zgodovine. Klagenfurt/Celovec: Drava 2020. ISBN 978-3-85435-948-7.
Werner Wintersteiner/Cristina Beretta/Mira Miladinović Zalaznik (Eds. | a cura di | ur.): Manifest|o Alpe-Adria. Voices for a Europe Region of Peace and Prosperity | Voci per una regione europea di pace e prosperità | Glasovi za evropsko regijo miru in blagostanya. Vienna: Löcker 2020. ISBN: 978-3-99098-027-9.
Peace Republic of Austria in the homeland of Earth. In: International 1/2023, 5-7. ISSN 1010-9285.
Learn to rethink the world. In: Bernhard Wieser/Kirstin Mertlitsch/Arno Bammé (eds.): Transformations. Socio-philosophical perspectives of change. Wiesbaden, Springer VS 2022, 19-47. ISBN 978-3-658-38608-5.
peace and security or violence and insecurity. In: FREDA. The green future academy (ed.): Peace is possible - but safe! Vienna 2022, 59-66. Downloads: https://www.versoehnungsbund.at/broschuere-frieden-ist-moeglich/
Focus on the peace goals. The logic of peace and non-violence in the Ukraine war. In: Crane. Newspaper of the Salzburg Peace Office, Summer 2/2022, 6-7.
Central values for the development of a humane society. In: Socio-Pedagogical Impulses 3/2022, 4-6. ISSN 1023-6929.
The underestimated resistance. The role of nonviolent action the way to peace. In: way of life. The magazine for sustainable living culture 3/2022, 34-35. ISSN 1994-425X.
The underrated nonviolent alternative. Interview. In: PAX 2/2022, 4-5.
steps towards peace. Five proposals for war against Ukraine. In: Science & Peace, vol. 40, 2/2022, 24-26. https://wissenschaft-und-frieden.de/artikel/schritte-richtung-frieden/
"War is a crime against humanity": The voice of Ukrainian pacifists. In: Europastimme, vol. 61, 3rd edition, September 2022, 4-8. ISSN 0014-2727. Downloads: http://europastimme.eu/
The underestimated resistance. Nonviolent actions in Ukraine. An overview. In: Europastimme, vol. 61, 2nd edition, June 2022, 20-27. ISSN 0014-2727. Downloads: http://europastimme.eu/
Peace policy under scrutiny. Thinking about the Ukraine war. In: Heinz Gärtner (ed.): The Ukraine at War. Is peace possible? Vienna: Lit 2022, 267-281. ISBN 978-3-643-51116-4.
A man of peace and dialogue in an oasis of humanity. In: kaz # 033, June 2022, 60-61.
A Social Psychologist in the Service of Peace - Herbert Kelman. In: International Journal of Social Psychology and Group Dynamics in Economy and Society, Vol. 47, Issue 1/2022, 16-23. ISSN 0354-928X.
peace for world society. The life of a great humanist - obituary for Herbert Kelman. In: International II/2022, 48-50. ISSN 1010-9285.
Madness and its methods. Thinking about the Ukraine war. In: International II/2022, 13-18. ISSN 1010-9285.
Werner Wintersteiner / Marjan Sturm: Visions and Ways - Civil Society Cooperation in the Alps-Adriatic Region. In: Karl Anderwald/Karl Hren/Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle. Carinthian Yearbook for Politics 2021 | Koroški politični zbornik 2021. Klagenfurt/Celovec: Mohorjeva/Hermagoras 2021, 277-293. ISBN 978-3-7086-1182-2. Downloads: https://www.jahrbuchkaernten.at/kaerntner-jahrbuch-fuer-politik.html
Werner Wintersteiner / Wilfried Graf: Nos finalités terrestres: pour un optimisme éclairé. In: Alfredo Pena-Vega (sldd) (2021): L'Avenir de Terre-Patrie. Cheminer with Edgar Morin. Arles: Actes Sud. ISBN 978-2-330-15166-9
A museum about the prehistory of human civilization. In: Elena Messner/Peter Pirker (eds.) 2021: Wars belong in the museum. But how?. Vienna: Edition Atelier, 300-308. ISBN 978-3-99065-061-5.
Wilfried Graf/Werner Wintersteiner: Herbert C. Kelman: from social-psychological peace research to the theory and practice of international peace mediation. In: Die Friedens-Warte, Vol. 94 (1-2) 2021, 124-136. ISSN 0340-0255.
homeland earth. A campaign for planetary thinking and feeling, planning and acting. In: International II/2021, 30-34. ISSN 1010-9285.