Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Pacifism is both a political doctrine aimed at promoting or preserving peace and a political behavior adopted by opponents of violence and particularly of war as a means of settling disputes. The belief that violence is unacceptable and should be avoided has presumably existed throughout history and has been theorized over the past 2 millennia by diverse political, philosophical, and theological thinkers. Organized political opposition to violence has existed since the generalization of conscription during the 19th century and took place during both World Wars. The elaboration of the concept of pacifism dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and encompasses a variety of political thoughts and attitudes. Pacifists differ on issues such as the inevitability and, more generally, the causes of war; the acceptability of violence as a suitable means toward peace; how to prevent war and resolve conflicts; and the very definition and conditions of peace ...