1 June 2024Feature

An interview with a leading figure in the French peace movement

MM: ‘Alain, in your book Démilitariser la France (Demilitarising France), you indicate that France is the fifth most militarised country in the world. Can you outline some particularly significant elements of this militarisation?

AR: ‘France has the particularity of having a long tradition of militarist symbols. To begin with, there is our national anthem: La Marseillaise, which is a war song. Then there is the 14 July military parade in Paris. There is also…

1 June 2023News in Brief

Home education in England has jumped a massive 50 percent since 2018, according to separate investigations by Schools Week and the Guardian.

The latest figures from local authorities show that 116,300 children were being home-educated at some point in the 2021 – 2022 school year.

The corresponding figure was just 78,800 back in 2018 – 2019, according to the association of directors of children’s services.

There is increasing pressure for a compulsory register for home-…

1 February 2023Feature

Liam Doherty reports on the students challenging arms-trade sponsored research at UK universities

Universities across the UK draw millions of pounds of revenue from arms-trade-sponsored research, sometimes with explicit weapon-development research aims. Universities turn to the arms industry to make quick profits from consultancy work, while arms companies use universities as a base for recruitment and PR. British universities also have funds – sometimes tens of millions of pounds – invested in arms companies either directly or indirectly through fund managers and banks.

This is…

1 August 2018News

Draconian new guidelines could affect all parents

Hastings Home Education, Development, Growth and Empowerment (HEDGE) day trip. Photo: Milan Rai

In 2009, home educators won a great battle for democracy, for privacy and for the open practice of learning. Through internet organising, lobbying and a bit of luck, we got two clauses removed from the Education Bill. These clauses would have turned home education (HE) into a narrow school model monitored and regulated by local authorities.

Since then, many local authorities have…

1 June 2017Review

Pluto, 2016; 304pp; £21.99

How do children learn to follow societal norms and how do state institutions mould young people into citizens? In documenting how children are brought up in Denmark, this book makes a valuable contribution to the anthropological study of childhood.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork – including interviews and observations in pre-school daycare – the authors also bring together a range of material from pre-existing literature in the field, all of which is meticulously referenced.

1 April 2017Comment

The point of peacemaking is to change minds, argues Bruce Kent

I’ve never before heard of a paper called The Weekly Dispatch but it was clearly doing well in 1917. In September that year it published a furious piece headed ‘Traitors in the Parks’.

It was all about the anti-war rallies being held in Finsbury Park and Hyde Park – ‘long haired strapping youths... using language about Cabinet ministers which horrified all decent people’.

It got much stronger in the next edition. ‘Sedition mongers and their dupes – insidious…

1 February 2017Feature

It’s still legal in Britain to withdraw your children from school – for what purpose?

Learning: doing it all by themselves. Photo: Emily Johns

The great advantage of home education has been to open up different kinds of education. If we are to save what is groundbreaking, trailblazing and effective about home education then we need people to wake up to their continued conformism.

Most of us think we know what education is. The room is set up with someone who ‘doesn’t know’ sitting down with pen in hand. There is someone in front of them who ‘knows’ about a…

1 August 2015Feature

Sarah Lasenby hits out at corporal punishment

Don't try this at home! Campionati mondiali kendo 2012 Novara 00-17-03. Author: Luca Mascaro

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children reports there are now 46 countries which have prohibited all corporal punishment of children. This list does not include Britain, the USA, Canada, France or Italy. Interestingly, 19 of 28 EU states protect their children in all settings. It would seem to be time to tackle this in the UK but there are problems.

1 September 2013Feature

An international course in freedom and autonomy draws 1700 participants from around the world.

From 12-16 August, the Zapatistas hosted a course in freedom and autonomy for 1,700 supporters from Mexico and abroad. Originally they had planned on 500 students, but such was the response that they expanded the school to hold 1,200 more people, and announced two more little schools will be held, in December this year and in January 2014.

The main requirement for any applicant is ‘an indisposition to speaking and judging, a disposition to listening and seeing, and a well-placed heart…

17 October 2012News

Wrexham activists organise a three-day festival of peace.

In late September, more than 300 children from 10 schools in and around Wrexham took part in locally-organised 'World Peace Days' focused on peace, conflict resolution and nonviolent resistance.

Signing singing lesson during Wrexham Peace Days 2012 Photo: Paul Lowndes

The three-day event (20-22 September) took place in a school on one day and then on the library green. Grassroots activists, musicians, poets, artists, cooks, holistic therapists, photographers and film-makers…

28 August 2012Feature

Pat Gaffney surveys faith groups' Olympic activism

‘The ideal of the Olympic Truce can itself be a sign that if it is possible to live without conflict for today, it might be possible to live without conflict tomorrow. But I need to invest in this peace, by laying down my own arms, and by joining hands with my neighbour, especially those I am most fearful and suspicious of.’ said Bishop Stephen Cottrell, speaking at a service in June at Chelmsford cathedral, welcoming the opportunity of peace-making through the Olympics.

This was one…

28 August 2012Feature

Does mainstream education steal conflict from children?

Drawing by Joss Williams

As I pondered how to write this article – about the way conflict is approached at the school in which I work – a friend introduced me to ‘Conflicts as Property’ written by Norwegian criminologist Nils Christie and published in an issue of The British Journal of Criminology in 1977. Although it is the legal system that preoccupies Christie as he sketches out a model of court procedure that restores the participants’ rights to their own conflicts, the parallels…

1 March 2012News in Brief

The (private) European Peace University in Austria is now offering three MA study courses. In addition to Peace and Conflict Studies, which has been running since 1992, the EPU started offering courses in European Peace and Security Studies and Peacebuilding in late 2011. The one-year courses cost E12,500 (£10,400) each for tuition and accommodation. The deadline for applications for autumn 2012 is 31 March.

1 March 2012Tool

What can we as individuals do to reduce the threat of violence – whether we encounter it in our daily lives, or whether we are concerned about the growing stockpile of nuclear weapons? Alison Whyte highlights some new on-line courses.

In 2005, a group at the University of Tromsø in Norway decided to create online training courses based on the ideas of Johan Galtung, the Norwegian sociologist who founded peace and conflict studies.

Professor Galtung defines peace as the capacity to handle conflict in a creative and empathic way. Galtung, who said that ‘violence is to peace what disease is to health’, believes that health professionals and others have a moral responsibility to address violence whenever they encounter…

1 October 2011News

Students protest tuition fee hike.

On 17 September, students began an occupation of Edinburgh University’s George Square lecture theatre that lasted 36 hours. A hundred students were involved in the occupation, which followed the university’s announcement that tuition fees would be raised to £9,000 per annum for UK students from outwith Scotland, with Scottish students remaining exempt under Scottish law.

Standard Scottish degrees consist of four-year courses, taking the fee total to as much as £36,000. Students asked…