Coming to Terms Annotation

Article: Philosophy of Peace Education in a Postmodern Era

Author: Ilan Gur-Ze’ev

Gur-Ze’ev, I (2001 June. Philosophy of peace education in postmodern era. Educational Theory, 51. Retrieved from

Background: Ilan Gur-Ze’ev is the Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, at the University of Haifa in Israel.  He has written extensively about civic education of children in Israel, and is also known to write for the Israeli Journal, Theory and Criticism .  He usually writes about “counter-education,” and concentrates in existentialism, history of Western Education and postmodernism.  This piece was published during the summer of 2001, in Educational Theory, Volume 1, Issue 3.

Aims: Ilan aims to uncover the problems with current peace education by evaluating past social reformers’ (such as Herbert Dewey and St Augustine) and current reformers’ definitions of peace and violence.  Ultimately, he argues that the current peace education system is flawed because of current reformer’s refusal to “contextualize” peace, or to be realistic about things like inevitable violence and conflict.  He attributes this refusal to an ultimate misunderstanding of what peace is, splitting current reformers into two groups: one that equates peace with non-violence, and those who equate peace with the quest for human rights.  He writes to showcase a solution for this confusion, calling for a “counter-education”  which will ultimately place conflict resolution into a more realistic setting, as it will account for the “necessary violence and conflict” that can still achieve positive things.

Names and Methods: Gur-Ze’ev relies heavily on previous scholarship, including some Christian texts, using St. Augustine’s take on peace and violence extensively.  Gur-Ze’ev also counters many of the authors he references, at times even countering two or three in the same paragraph.   For example, he brings forth Karl Schmidt’s criticism of humanists and then uses Jurgen Habermas criticism on Schmidt’s criticism in the next sentence.  At time this can be confusing to dissect.The author also furthers many works, taking quotes and using them as a starting point to launch into another author’s take on a similar theory. The only non academic source Gur-Ze’ev uses is UNESCO’s definitions of peace and peace builder’s to illustrate current world perceptions of what peace is.

Terms- “counter-education”- a tool to address the unrealistic expectations of current peace education

Uses: This article uses so many sources that it is a great starting point for finding other authors who have written on this type of subject.  This article also points out the importance of defining terms and why “mis-definitions” of terms can lead to stagnation in a movement, as goals are left unclear.

Limits: Upon further research of the author, I could not find a lot of information and when I did I found some negative reviews, which makes me a bit worried about the legitimacy of his work.  Also, the purpose of this particle is to suggest the “counter-education” which is not very relevant to my question, except as a comparison to the current system of peace education.