This article suggests that where one is positioned in the current geopolitical system is
likely to have an influence on whether one feels hope or despair. In this respect material
asymmetry as a divisive influence is noted and it is argued that poverty reduction
is a crucial component in defining a culture of peace. The need for sharing of resources
as envisioned in the definition offered by Boulding is endorsed. Although the
reduction of material asymmetry is seen as crucial, it is however, not seen as sufficient
for the attainment of a peace culture. Redressing other power differentials such as
gender is also viewed as crucial. The insights offered by Elise Boulding on the role of
nongovernmental organizations are highlighted but the need to examine civil society
more widely is also noted. In particular, the question of the meaning of citizenship is
emphasized. In conclusion, the importance of developing a holistic, interdisciplinary
approach that draws on cooperation and interdependence is affirmed and it is argued
that there is sufficient reason for hope.
Published when Prof de la Rey was a lecturer in psychology at the University of Cape Town.