Elise Boulding


The inspiration for this essay came to me after a daylong workshop on Imagining a Nonviolent World which I offered for prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Norfolk on a wintry Saturday morning. This type of imaging workshop first evolved in the late 1970s, as I began to realize that we peace activists, working to bring about a nonviolent world without war, really had no idea how a world in which armies had disappeared would function. How could we work to bring about something we could not even see in our imaginations? Stepping back into the 1950s in my own mind, I remembered translating Fred Polak’s Image of the Future from the Dutch original, a macrohistorical analysis that showed a war-paralyzed and depressed Europe how past societies in bad situations but with positive images of the future had been empowered by their own imaginations to work to bring the imaged future about. Here was a possible answer!

Author Bio(s)

Elise Boulding is Professor Emerita of Sociology, Dartmouth College, and former Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association. A scholaractivist, she has undertaken numerous transnational and comparative cross-national studies on conflict and peace, development, family life, women in society as well as writing on the future. Her books include: The Underside of History: A View of Women through Time (1992); Building a Global Civic Culture, (1990); One Small Plot of Heaven: Reflections of a Quaker Sociologist on Family Life, (1989); The Future Images and Processes with Kenneth Boulding (1995); and Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History, (2000).


Earth Survival Organization (ESO), history, local-global governance, nonviolence

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