Johan Galtung

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Johan Galtung 2012

Johan Galtung (born October 24, 1930 in Oslo ) is a Norwegian mathematician , sociologist and political scientist . He is considered the founding father of peace and conflict research . The Institute for Peace Research (PRIO), the first peace research institute in Europe, was founded by him in 1959. In 1964 he started the Journal of Peace Research . In 1969, Galtung was appointed the world's first professor of peace and conflict studies by the Norwegian government. He has received numerous national and international awards and honors, including the 1987 alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award .


Johan Galtung was born on October 24, 1930 in Oslo as the son of the doctor August Galtung and his wife Helga Holmboe. His paternal grandfather was also a doctor. In his childhood he experienced the Second World War in Norway occupied by Nazi Germany ; at the age of 12 he witnessed his father being arrested by the occupiers. In 1951 he completed 18 months of social service as a replacement for mandatory military service. Galtung, already trained as a mediator, spent a few months in a prison. He then started studying at the University of Oslo.


From 1953 to 1957 Galtung was assistant to the Norwegian philosopher and scientific theorist Arne Næss , with whom he researched political ethics and the principles of Gandhi's philosophy . This work shapes his work to the present day. Galtung obtained the cand.real degree in 1956. in mathematics at the University of Oslo and in 1957 the higher research degree in sociology. From 1957 to 1960 Galtung was Associate Professor of Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Merton at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Columbia .

With Lazarsfeld he worked on the further development of sociological methodology and with Merton on the epistemological foundations of social science theory formation. Galtung has been working with a specially developed heuristic since 1957 . Its characteristic is to combine precisely coordinated analysis methods from medical science (diagnostics, prognostics, therapeutics), mathematics (discrete and structural mathematics, combinatorics and stochastics), sociology, comparative cultural studies and anthropology. In this way, conflicts on all levels of society should be better transformed in terms of their causes, drivers and consequences. As a result, committed to extensive transdisciplinary research, Galtung founded the International Peace Research Institute PRIO in Oslo in 1959 , the first of its kind in Europe . Both the methodology and the research approach of PRIOs have gradually changed since the institute was also financed by the state. PRIO has thus shifted the focus from the original peace research to security research.

In his book Launching Peace Studies - the first PRIO years , Johan Galtung describes more precisely the context in which the institute was developed and its goals and achievements .

The news factors he worked out together with Mari Holmboe Ruge in 1965 and the methods of peace journalism renewed with Jake Lynch are significant for journalism and communication studies . His theory of structural violence , his social position theory , his structural imperialism theory and his ' Multidimensional Social Science Theory ' are of importance for political science and sociology . For theology, the distinction between “hard and soft exegesis” that stems from his work in cultural studies plays an important role in the conception of ecumenical and interreligious dialogues.

"I myself took a decade to gain a foothold in the following subjects: sociology in the fifties, political science in the sixties, theology, economics and education in the seventies, history in the eighties and culture (anthropology, History of ideas / philosophy, psychoanalysis = individual and collective constructions) in the nineties. "

- Johan Galtung

In 1973 Galtung was the first peace researcher to be appointed to the Carl von Ossietzky guest professorship for peace and conflict research at the Department of Political Science at the University of Bonn .

In the academic year 1982/1983 Galtung was a fellow in the second year of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin . He then published an extensive criticism of the style and organization of the college. In 1987 he received the Right Livelihood Award , in 1993 the Jamnalal Bajaj Prize.

Johan Galtung is currently the rector of the TRANSCEND International Peace University, which he founded in 1992, and a member of the TRANSCEND network for peace, development and the environment. In addition, he is Honorary President of the Galtung Institute for Peace Theory and Practice in Grenzach-Wyhlen (Baden-Württemberg) that resulted from this network. The main task of the network is theory-led and solution-oriented conflict mediation on the basis of methodological and praxeological assumptions of empathy, non-violence and creativity, developed by Johan Galtung and social scientists friends. A number of researchers and practitioners in German-speaking countries have expanded this praxeology developed by Johan Galtung to include different conflict management contexts. For example Dietrich Fischer, Hajo Schmidt and Lutz Schrader in the context of academic teaching and Wilfried Graf & Gudrun Kramer in the context of psychotherapy and development cooperation.

From 1997 to 1999 he was visiting professor at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto .

Galtung himself uses his multidimensional transcend method of systematic dialogue in his mediation and counseling assignments. In the 50 years between 1957 and 2007 he acted directly as a mediator or advisor in over 100 conflicts worldwide. So in Denmark in the case of the Mohammed cartoons, Sri Lanka , Afghanistan , Northern Caucasus and Ecuador . The handbook "100 case studies and conflict analyzes including suggested solutions" as well as a corresponding course at the Galtung Institute for Peace Theory and Peace Practice have emerged from his conflict management expertise.

He was instrumental in developing the concept of social defense and coined the terms

Galtung is also committed to the democratization of the United Nations (UN). In numerous speeches and articles, he has spoken out in favor of establishing a world parliament. He is one of the first to sign the international call for a parliamentary assembly at the United Nations . Galtung is a member of the Advisory Board of the Committee for a Democratic UN, founded in 2004.

Since March 2009 he has also been involved in the newly founded Russell Tribunal on Palestine .

Accusation of anti-Semitism

In 2011, a series of allegations began against Galtung. During a lecture, in response to a critical objection from a listener, in which the listener asked whether Galtung (also) recommends reading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion , among other things, he asked whether the listener had read them; he, Galtung, naturally did this from a scientific perspective. The Norwegian journalists John Færseth and Didrik Søderlind rated these statements as anti-Semitic in connection with the content of the lecture. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz made similar allegations. For example, in an email interview with Haaretz, Galtung put forward the thesis that the Israeli secret service Mossad could have led the assassin Anders Behring Breivik . This is an improbable, but admissible hypothesis and in any case cannot be ruled out without reason. In addition, Galtung alleged that large parts of the US and international media were controlled by Jews. With regard to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion , he said that he should think of Goldmann-Sachs as he read them today. The paper quoted Galtung on the Holocaust : "Terrible Auschwitz" has, in addition to the atrocities that cannot be justified by anything, another "problematic side" that must be seen in connection with the prehistory. As a result of the humiliation of Germany by the Versailles Treaty , in which Jews had held key positions, anti-Semitism was promoted. In the United States, too, university professorships are disproportionately occupied by Jewish scientists, which is good from an intellectual point of view, but bad if one considers Israel's influence on America's politics to be possible. Julia Chaitin called Galt's statements in Haaretz anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and racist . The Jerusalem Post quoted the publicist Manfred Gerstenfeld as saying that Galtung deserved its place in textbooks on anti-Semitism in the 21st century ("Galtung has merited his place in textbooks of 21st century anti-Semitism").

Following these allegations, Galtung was suspended from the Master of Advanced Studies in Peace and Conflict Transformation program by the World Peace Academy in Basel, which is linked to the University of Basel . A companion of Galtung, who in August 2012 - as a reaction to this decision - resigned the director of the WPA, Professor Dietrich Fischer, stated that Galtung's suspension was due to external pressure and that it constituted an "encroachment on academic freedom ".

Johann Galtung himself categorically rejected the accusation as defamatory, recalled his early research on the origin of prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism and illustrated the failed attribution process with an example:

... “These libelous people never stop to ponder whether they would consider an oncologist / cancerologist to be a cancer for researching carcinoma.” –Johan Galtung (These slanderous people never stop to wonder if they are an oncologist / cancer researcher would regard his research on carcinoma as cancer.)

See also


  • Together with Mari Holmboe Ruge: The Structure of Foreign News. The Presentation of the Congo, Cuba and Cyprus Crisis in Four Norwegian Newspapers. In: Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 2 (1965), pp. 64-91.
  • Models for peace. Methods and aim of peace research. Preface by Lutz Mez . Youth Service, Wuppertal 1972, ISBN 3-7795-7201-X .
  • Structural violence. Contributions to peace and conflict research. Rororo, Reinbek near Hamburg 1982, ISBN 3-499-11877-7 .
  • Structure, culture and intellectual style. A comparative essay on Sachsonian, Teutonic, Gallic, and Nippon science. In: Leviathan . 2. Free University of Berlin, Berlin 1983, pp. 303–338.
  • The route is the goal. Gandhi and the alternative movement. Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal / Lünen 1987, ISBN 3-87294-346-4 .
  • The price of modernization . Promedia Verlag , Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-85371-123-5 .
  • The other globalization. Perspectives for a civilized world society in the 21st century. Agenda, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-89688-025-X .
  • Peace by peaceful means. Peace and conflict, development and culture. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1998, ISBN 3-8100-1864-3 .
  • The future of human rights. Understanding between cultures. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-593-36043-8 .
  • New ways to peace. Conflicts from 45 years: diagnosis, prognosis, therapy. Bund für Soziale Defense, Minden 2003, ISBN 3-00-011703-2 .
  • Conflicts and conflict resolution. An introduction to the Transcend method. Kai Homilius Verlag , Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89706-602-1 .
  • 50 Years: 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives. Transcend University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-82-300-0439-5 .
  • with Paul Scott: Democracy - Peace - Development. Transcend University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-82-300-0460-9 .
  • 50 Years: 25 Intellectual Landscapes Explore. Transcend University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-82-300-0471-5 .
  • with Graeme MacQueen: Globalizing God: Religion, Spirituality and Peace. Transcend University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-82-300-0473-9 .
  • The Fall of the US Empire - And Then What? (Peace, Development, Environment, 5)
  • with Fumiko Nishimura: Learn from China? VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1978, ISBN 978-3-531-11443-9 (translated from English by Hanne Herkommer).


Web links

Commons : Johan Galtung  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  2. Johan Galtung: The journey is the goal. Gandhi and the alternative movement. Wuppertal / Lünen 1987, p. 8
  3. , 25 intellectual Landscapes explored in 50 years, TUP, 2008. p. 10
  5. ^ Launching Peace Studies
  7. From his autobiography. Galtung, Johan (2006): On Peace Ways Through The World: An Autobiographical Travel Sketch. In: Steinkamp, ​​B. (Übers.) Agenda Verlag. P. 105.
  8. see
  10. ^ Weber: Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor, p. 212
  14. “What to do with the Military?” - A Thinking with Dr. Galtung workshop. (No longer available online.) Ritsumeikan University September 16, 2011, archived from the original November 4, 2012 ; accessed on July 19, 2012 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Johan Galtung, Peace with Peaceful Means, 1998, pp. 341 ff., 362 ff.
  18. Call for the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations . Campaign for the establishment of a parliament at the United Nations. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  19. ^ Committee for a Democratic UN
  20. Article by John Færseth: Galtung leker med ilden. In: Dagbladet. September 30, 2011, accessed May 1, 2012 .
  21. Hilda Nyfløt: Verdenskjent, norsk professor mener man må forske på jødemakt . In: Dagbladet of April 25, 2012,
  22. Article by Didrik Søderlind: Noen ord om Johan Galtung. In: April 2012, accessed May 1, 2012 .
  24. Article by Ofer Aderet: Pioneer of global peace studies hints at link between Norway massacre and Mossad. In: Haaretz. April 30, 2012, accessed May 1, 2012 .
  26. Julia Chaitin: An Open Letter to Johan Galtung: Peace-making and anti-Semitism Can't Go Together?
  28. (accessed on: August 13, 2012).
  29. Renato Beck: Galtung case: Did the university and the Basel government exert undue pressure? . In: day week of August 22, 2012
  30. Galtung's reply (2012) to the allegations of anti-Semitism (English).