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Joseph de Rivera, Clark University

The following is a pre-publication draft of an article that is now published in Peace and Conflict, 2018, 24, 216-224.

The attainment and maintenance of international justice would seem to require the establishment of a global community consciousness based on socio-emotional relationships, the recognition of dependence on a common earth, and cooperative work on common concerns. This solidarity of community provides a base for international organization that needs to be distinguished from the cohesion of a superordinate group. Although it maintains diversity, a global community probably requires inclusionary rituals that would celebrate an inclusive unity involving common concerns, themes that could be celebrated by all peoples. To test the possibility of articulating such themes, over two thousand people from 25 different nations were given eight possible themes for celebration. All the themes were desired by over 80% of the respondents and one — The courage to build justice for the children who will inherit this world — was desired by 93% of the sample. Asked if they would like to participate in a celebration of global community, 78% answered probably or definitely with over 65% wanting to participate from all but 2 of the sampled nations. Although the results suggest the development of a global norm we cannot be sure of the strength of this norm and the extent to which people would actually attend celebrations. These limitations could be addressed if the themes were used in celebrations of global community whose attendance and impact were assessed.


Key words: Global community, Rituals, Celebrations, International justice, Human communalities



This research would not have been possible without the collaboration of numerous investigators who care about the development of our global community. Their names and contributions to this international project on developing global community are listed below:

ALBERTO AMUTIO CAREAGA Translation into Basque

ANIA WLODARCZYK       Translation and data collection in Poland, Chile, and Ecuador

AUGUSTIN ESPINOSA      Data collection in Peru

BERNARD RIMÉ                Translation into French

CAITLIN MAHONEY          Data collection in United States

CAMILLE SOUHARD         Data collection in France

CHARI TSTATSARUNI       Translation and data collection in Greece

DAN SILVA                      Translation in Romania

DARÍO PÁEZ                    Translation and data collection in Spain

DING DAOQUN                Data collection in China

FOUAD BOU ZEINEDDINE   Translation into Arabic and data collection in South Africa

GERHARD REESE               Translation and data collection in Germany

GERHARD STEMBERGER            Data collection in Austria

GULCIMEN YURTSEVER Translation and data collection in Turkey

HARRY CARSON                Review of the philosophy of community

ISABEL R. PINTO                     Translation and data collection in Portugal

JAMES LIU                           Data collection in New Zealand

JAMES PAGE                        Data collection in Australia

JAS LAILE SUZANA BINTI JAAFAR      Translation and data collection in Malaysia

JELENA ZIVKOVIC                        Translation and data collection in Russia

JOSÉ IGNACIO RUIZ         Data collection in Colombia

JOSÉ JOAQUIN PIZARRO   Translation and data collection in Basque

JULIA MARIANNE SMITH            Data collection in United States

LAURA GIRGIU                 Translation and data collection in Romania

LISA GAUDETTE                Manuscript preparation

LIJO KOCHAKADAN JOY            Translation into Malayalam and data collection in India

LIU BANGCHUN               Translation and data collection in China

MARCELA MURATORI     Data collection in Argentina and assistance with data file

MICHAEL J. STEVENS       Data collection in Romania

MO WEN                       Data collection in China

NEBOJŠA PETROVIĆ         Translation and data collection in Serbia

NEKANE BASABE B.         Translation and data collection in Basque

RIM SAAB                        Translation into Arabic and data collection in Lebanon

SAIOA TELLETXEA           Translation and data collection in Basque

SONIA GONDIM                 Translation and data collection in Brazil

SU ÁD AWAB                      Translation into Malay and data collection in Malaysia

WAHEEDA KHAN              Translation into Hindi and data collection in India

YASHPAL JAGDAND         Translation into Marathi and data collection in India

Deutsch, Marcus, and Brazaitis (2015) point out that a socio-psychological prerequisite for effective cooperation is a strong community and that the international cooperation needed to deal with global problems requires the development of a global community. We are at a time when we need to imagine ourselves as living in a global community of persons who are conscious of their interdependence and responsibility for one another and a common earth. Studies have begun to explore the concept of global identification: Der-Karabetian, Cao, and Alfaro (2014) have shown that in both the U.S. and Taiwan those who report more global belonging engage in more sustainable environmental behavior. Hackett, Omoto, and Matthews (2015) have shown that those with more of a sense of global community have more concern for human rights and are more apt to donate to Doctors without Borders. Reese and Kohlmann (2015) show that those who endorse items indicating a strong connection to the “world community as a whole” are more apt to choose a small “fair trade” chocolate over a much larger regular bar. McFarland (2016) has summarized the results of numerous studies showing that those who report identifying with “all humanity” rather than with simply local or national community know more about global humanitarian concerns, are more likely to choose to read about humanitarian and human rights issues, and are more likely to give cash winnings to international humanitarian relief. Reysen and Katzarska-Miller (2013, p. 858) define global citizenship as, “awareness, caring, and embracing cultural diversity while promoting social justice and sustainability, coupled with a sense of responsibility to act.” And Liu and MacDonald (2016) describe a global dialogic consciousness that compels positive action beyond the limits of local communities.

Such investigations suggest that some are beginning to think of themselves as related to others who live in distant nations and that a global community is beginning to form. Certainly the increased availability of the internet, Facebook, and international news, travel, and employment are contributing to this development. Participating in this nascent community needs to be distinguished from an ideal identification with a superordinate national group. The mutuality required by global community cannot be adequately conceptualized by thinking that individuals belonging to a superordinate group based on a conceptual distinction such as our being Earthlings rather than Martians or Homo sapiens rather than chimpanzees. There is a tendency to conflate the concept of community with the concept of group and to fail to distinguish between a personal identity that is dependent on the mutual emotional relations involved in community and the social identity involved in group membership. Community, as conceptualized by John Macmurray (1961a) depends on socioemotional relationships and common concerns whereas a group may be simply based on similar interests, a shared goal, or even a similar name.

By community we mean an intended social entity that is characterized by a way of living in which caring for others dominates the fear of others and solidarity is based on socio-emotional relationships, the recognition of dependence on a common earth, and cooperative work on common concerns. Although based on personal relationships, when size precludes personal knowing there is a commitment to a system of justice that includes those who are only in indirect relations. A global community requires a widespread consciousness that our existence involves us as active contributing members of an actual human community and not simply an ideal commitment to the good of all mankind. It must be based on the socio-emotional relations and the caring inter-actions that are basic to our human identity and allow us to recognize our identity with others regardless of our group boundaries and conceptions or class categories. An actual global community requires a willingness to dialogue with different others and to commit to the promotion of justice, security and well-being for all.

Rather than being a superordinate group, a community is a type of society and Kirkpatrick (1986) contrasts Macmurray’s model of community with both individualistic and collectivist models of society: An individualistic society may be conceived in terms of economic contracts between individuals who exercise choices for self-gain in a free market. A collectivist society may be seen as an organic group in which people are functional parts of a greater organism, conform to what is good for the whole, and submit to the laws of a state.  By contrast, Macmurray’s community entails an individuality that is based on socio-emotional relations and caring inter-actions.  It is a community of mutuality, of persons whose trust is greater than their fear, who intend justice for all, and who care for a common earth.

Even early “natural” human communities, based on kinship and marriage, were held together by ceremonial rituals that reinforced emotional bonds. As these communities grew too large to afford face-to-face contact they became expanded into social entities such as tribal formations, nationalities, religions, and nation-states that were, in an important sense, artificially constructed (Anderson, 1991; de Rivera, 2014). For such constructed entities to be viable a sense of unity and a feeling of belonging had to be intended and cultivated and Durkheim (1912/2008) has described how early societies created a sense of unity by assuming a common ancestor and using ancestor worship or totem ceremonials to create a feeling of oneness. He showed how more modern peoples used analogous rituals to help transcend individual and group differences and reinforce national and religious identities. Throughout history, humans have struggled to deal with the conflicts that tear societies apart. From a sociological perspective, a religion functions to unify a society. And Macmurray (1961b) points out that religion, unlike science and art, is a mode of reflective activity that attempts to manage conflict and the problems posed by love and fear. Rather than thought or contemplation, it uses a different form of a symbolic action—ritual—that is designed to unify communities.

Much modern society has become secularized and contemporary religions are often used to divide rather than unify. Indeed, Durkheim noted how the increased spatial size of societies and the increasing division of labor made it difficult for contemporary persons to identify with a common community. However, Durkheim (1898/1975, p. 63) argued that a new “religion of humanity” was necessary and possible. Arguing that religion distinguishes between the sacred and the profane, he suggested that the new religion would be based on a belief of the sacredness of personhood. Might such a belief be developing?  From an historical perspective, Joas (2013) argues that the development of taboos against torture and slavery and an increasing respect for human rights are examples of such a sacralization of personhood.

If Durkheim and the historians of religion are correct the unity of a global community will require celebratory rituals that reinforce a sense of unity and common values, ceremonies that can create emotional unity and develop and encourage a consciousness of a global community identity. Such celebrations must use rituals with themes that reflect and symbolically intend a common unity rather than a categorical identity. They must express and encourage a caring for others that is greater than fearful self-concern, and that express the sentiment that we are glad to belong together.

Whitehouse and Lanman (2014) distinguish between high intensity rituals that create identity fusion and routinized rituals that contribute to group identification, and Collins (2004) has pointed out how community is dependent on ordinary interaction rituals (such as handshaking). However, many are suspicious of the lack of logical rationality in ritual (Bellah, 2006). The emotional rituals involved in the formation of France contributed to the suppression of local communities and languages, and the rituals uniting Nazi Germany excluded non-Aryans and other “undesirables.” Rituals involving initiation and secret signs may be used to create elite groups or the hate groups involved in totalitarian societies. However, rituals may also be used to unite people in ways that focus on inclusion rather than exclusion and on equality rather than domination and the submergence of individuality. Páez and Rimé (in press) have shown that the coordinated activity involved in collective gatherings such as marches, concerts, and demonstrations enhances emotions and social integration and can encourage participants to experience the self to be a “we.”  What we must distinguish are activities where the “we” excludes more than it includes. Exclusionary rituals use language that emphasizes belonging to a group and makes contrasts that exclude others by using words that contrast “us” with “them”. By contrast, in inclusionary rituals people are united by encouraging participation in communities that welcome others in common celebrations. The rituals that are involved include shared meals, common dances, joint worship, or fairs that have an atmosphere of togetherness that can serve to connect all those who participate. Although such communities may be difficult for outsiders to access, the members within are involved in personal relationships. Membership is not defined by boundaries that distinguish those who belong from those who do not belong to a group, but by a belonging that is dependent on a sense of communality, human dignity, and responsibility.

Contemporary nation-states often offer both types of ritual. Compare the words of the U.S. national anthem, “our flag is still there,” with its reference to group conflict, to those in the American folk song “this land is your land, this land is my land.” Both songs invoke togetherness, but the national anthem accents group belonging. By contrast, Woody Guthrie’s folk song accentuates common relationship as in the lines: “this land belongs to you and me.” Currently most of the people of the world live in nation-states that compete for trade and participate in faith communities and ethnic identities that tend to constrain rather than enhance the possibility of mutuality. Yet, local ethnic, religious, and national identities do not have to involve group comparison nor involve exclusionary rituals. Kosterman and Feshbach (1989) show how the prejudice of nationalism can be distinguished from a patriotic loving of one’s own country, and contemporary religious leadership increasingly recognizes the worthiness of other faiths. We can foster the love of unique local, national, and religious community without emphasizing group differences.

A just and peaceful global community would have to acknowledge and respect the identities of different ethnicities, nations and faiths. The literature on social cohesion clearly shows the danger of ignoring the identities of smaller entities (Volhardt, Migacheva, & Tropp, 2009). Hence, any rituals used to promote global identity would have to be grounded in local community yet inclusive, open, and welcoming—celebrations of generosity and compassion—that present identity and freedom in terms of interdependence and encourage the emotional readiness to care for any person with whom one is brought into relation. Paradoxically, celebrating global community will need to reflect themes and values that can transcend cultural differences. As Moghaddam (2012) has argued, it may be important to locate cultural diversity against a background that highlights human communalities. There is an important difference between similar and common and it seemed desirable to see if it was possible to articulate themes that would resonate with people from different  cultures so they could be used in world-wide celebrations of global community.

Some possible themes are suggested by the fact that all peoples must meet fundamental needs. Rather than focusing on an individual’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943) we may consider how meeting any of these needs involves our dependence on others.  It seems possible that reflection might lead many people in all cultures to want to celebrate their gratitude for four fundamental interdependencies:

  • Their family, friendship, and local community.

  • The goods produced by workers from around the world.

  • Ancestors who developed the seeds, medicines and technologies used today.

  • The goodness of sun, plants, animals, earth.

Other themes are suggested by the fact that community involves meeting the needs of others as well as one’s own and hence a responsibility towards others (Nowell, & Boyd, 2010). In this vein, Lerner and Clayton (2011) present evidence that the desire for justice is as fundamental as self-interest. To the extent there is a concern for others than all peoples may wish to celebrate four important emotional dynamics that are involved in the maintenance of human community rather than the goals of particular groups:

  • The struggle to overcome oppression, inhumanity, and disaster

  • The strength gained when the love for those from other lands is greater than our fear

  • The courage to build justice for the children who will inherit this world

  • Some basic Goodness in the universe that wants justice for all

Of course, the statement of each of these themes is problematic. Celebrating the struggle to overcome oppression suggests a solidarity that may be rejected as overly idealistic. The statement that strength is gained when love is stronger than fear may seem confusing, platitudinous, or even unpatriotic. It may be doubted that there is much real concern for justice for others or that young students care about children And the idea of wanting to celebrate some “basic Goodness” that wants justice would seem an anathema to those involved in contemporary secularism, vague and watered down to deists,  or unacceptable to those living in situations without much justice. In any case, the possibility of common themes raises two important research questions:


  1. First, it seems important to see if a desire to celebrate any of the above themes is really common to people of different nationalities.  Given the fact of national differences and the varied religious faiths that are involved, if an international sample was offered the possibility of celebrating global community would any of the above themes be desired by a majority from all nations and with a national effect size so small that the theme could be used in international celebrations of global community?

  2. Second, it seems crucial to find out if people from different nations might want to participate in a celebration of global community.

If the primary research interest was in the desirability of individual themes it would be desirable to vary the order in which the themes were presented. However, the investigators hoped to secure as much agreement as possible and decided to begin with what seemed to be the least objectionable theme (family, friends, and local community) and to maintain a fixed order that ended with what seemed the most potentially objectionable theme (because of its distinctively religious overtones). Rather than presenting a definition of global community and whether music, dance, or food would be involved in a particular celebration it was decided to rely on the definition suggested by the themes. Would people from different nations want to participate in a celebration of the sort of global community suggested by the eight themes? Asked in this manner, regardless of the desire for or opposition to any particular theme, a desire to publically participate would seem to be a personal endorsement of the idea of celebrating the type of global community suggested by the themes.

The possibility of different themes raises some other interesting questions: Are some themes preferred much more than others, and are there any important national, age, or gender differences as to which themes are preferred, or in the willingness to participate in a celebration of global identity? However, we are unaware of any theoretical bases for prediction and view these questions about difference as less important than the central questions about commonality.


Potential participants were told that investigators in different countries (N = 25) were working to see what themes might be used in celebrations of global community and were conducting a short anonymous survey about what people might like to celebrate. Those who elected to take the survey were informed: “Along with our local communities and nations some persons are beginning to believe that we are a single people and can form a global community. Please imagine that you have chance to participate in a celebration of global identity. Below are a number of things that might be acknowledged and celebrated in some way. Please indicate whether you would like them to be part of such a celebration.” They were then presented with each of the eight themes described above and asked to indicate: Don’t want, prefer not, would like, or definitely want, on a 1-4 point Likert-Scale. After noting any other theme they would like to see celebrated, they were asked, “Would you like to participate in a celebration of global community?” and given the choice of Not at all, probably not, not sure, probably, and definitely, on a 1-5 point Likert-Scale. They were then asked to provide their age, gender, and nationality, and thanked for their participation.

The survey, initiated in English, was translated into Arabic, Basque, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Marathi, Malay, Malayalam, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Turkish. Translations were checked by back translations and adjusted to insure meanings that were as close to the original English as possible. Most surveys were administered on line by using Qualtics, but in some case it was easier to use an identical paper copy of the survey.



To secure as wide participation as possible the author contacted colleagues whom he knew were conducting research in different nations. When a nation was not represented he contacted persons who were on lists of those interested in international peace research. An attempt was made to find at least one collaborator in all regions of the world. All were informed that some preliminary research suggested some themes that could be used in celebrations of global community and that it seemed useful to see if people around the world like these themes. They were asked if they would participate in an international research project on developing global community that could begin with a collaborative effort to collect data with a simple one page survey whose responses could be entered into a central base that all could share. The author agreed to write a preliminary article with the hope that individuals would write pieces that focused on the issue in their own country or locale. Over 60 persons in different nation were contacted, 40 agreed to participate and 37 were able to collect data from 25 different nations, and sometimes from different regions of a nation.

An attempt was made to secure at least 30 respondents from each nation and to secure as broad a range of participants as possible. Some investigators collected data from classes of university students; others targeted specific groups or used Facebook posts. Although the variety of sampling methods constrains the making of comparison between nations it allows for some broad international generalizations. There were a total of 2,424 participants, with 64% indicating a female identity. They ranged in age from 11 to 83 with a mean of 27.4 and a median of 22 years. Although 65% were from undergraduate classes, 24% were from non-students samples, and 11%  from post-graduate classes.There were 25 nations who were represented by at least 20 respondents and could be included in national comparisons. An additional 28 participants lived in 20 other nations. To explore differences within nations, samples were obtained from three different language groups in India (Hindi, Marathi, and Malayalam), two different groups in Northwest Spain (those identifying as Basque and those identifying as Spanish), two different student groups in the United States (Southern and Northern), and two different universities in Colombia (affluent private and poorer public).


We first ask whether, across the global sample, some themes seem more desirable. The results are shown in Table 1.


Table 1

Percentage Response to Theme Inclusion in Celebrations of Global Identity

de Rivera table 1.JPG

Although all eight themes are liked by the vast majority of respondents some appear more liked than others and when the frequencies for each theme are submitted to a Friedman’s two- way ANOVA (by ranks for related samples) some differences prove to be highly significant statistically (p. < .001).  A Wilcoxon signed rank tests showed that the 7th theme was significantly preferred to all others. Wilcoxon tests also show that the 1st and 5th were preferred to the 8th, and that the 8th was preferred to the 4th and 6th, which were, in turn significantly preferred to the 2nd and 3rd (all at p. <.005).

To examine the importance of national differences each theme was scored from 1 to 4. Unilateral ANOVAs and partial eta squared scores were used to evaluate the extent and effect size of national differences. Scheffe tests were used to examine homogeneous sub sets. Table 2 shows the F values for each theme along with the means, standard errors, effect sizes, and homogenous sub-sets.

Table 2

National Differences for Theme Preference

de Rivera table 2.JPG

Although nationality was a significant factor the data proved to be remarkably homogenous with quite small effect sizes except for the eighth theme.  Those interested in national differences may find a table (Appendix A) showing the percentages of respondents from each nation who either like or definitely want each of the themes. There were no correlations with age except for a small but statistically significant correlation between age and the 7th theme (r = .09, p. <.001). There were small but significant differences between genders. These are shown in Table 3.


Table 3

Gender Differences in Theme Preference

de Rivera table 3.JPG

Asked to note any other theme they would like to see celebrate many participants wrote additional themes. Although many involved common humanity, perhaps the most notable suggestions involved the idea of celebrating differences among peoples and individuals. Suggestions that were made by more than one person are listed in Appendix B.


Regardless of the desirability of themes, person may or may not wish to participate in an actual celebration of global community. Table 4 shows the extent to which persons indicated a desire to participate.


Table 4

Desire to Participate in a Global Celebration

de Rivera table 4.JPG

The desirability of each of the individual themes was significantly (p. <.001) correlated with wanting to participate. Correlations ranged from +.23 to +.32 with the sum of the desirability for the eight themes correlating +.43 (p<.001) with wanting to participate. There was no significant correlation between age and desire to participate. Females showed a slightly higher desire to participate (Mean = 4.07) than males (Mean = 3.98), t (1514) = 2.22, p. <.03).                                                                                      


The effect of nationality was examined by scoring wanting to participate on a five point scale and using a unilateral ANOVA. F (22, 2342) = 15.74 MSE = 11.896, p <. 001. National means, standard deviations, and SEs are presented in Table 5. Although there was a considerable range of values, the effect size, as measured by partial eta squared was only .139 and a Scheffe test distinguished only two homogenous subsets. One of these included all nations except for Poland and Serbia (whose values were low). The other included all nations except India, Brazil, Malaysia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Romania (whose values were high).

Table 5

Extent of National Desire to Participate in a Celebration of Global Community

de Rivera table 5.JPG

The percentage of persons in each nation who either probably or defiantly wanted to participate was over 65% in all nations save for Poland (where only 38% wanted to participate and 28% were not sure) and Serbia (where only 38% wanted to participate and 40% were not sure). The highest percentages were in Malaysia (92%) and India (93%). Those interested in national differences may find national data in Appendix A.

To probe for possible exceptions to an acceptance of global celebrations, we explored groups that might be less accepting of global community. Within the United States, students from a small private Southern college were slightly less desirous of wanting to participate in a celebration of global community (Mean = 3.84; 73% want), than those from a public university in the North to (Mean = 4.24; 83% want), t (188) =2.30, p. < .03). Within Colombia, students from a private middle and high status university were slightly less desirous Mean = 4.10) than those from a public low and middle status university (Mean = 4.49), t (188) = 2.17, p < .03) Within Spain the mean of those who identified their nationality as Basque (Mean = 3.99) was not significantly different from those who identified as Spanish (Mean = 3.89).  Within India, those who took the questionnaire in Malayalam in Southern India had virtually the same desire to participate (Mean =4.62) as those using Marathi in the West (Mean = 4.64). Both had slightly greater scores than Indians who took the questionnaire in English (Mean = 4.39) but these differences did not quite reach the .05 level of significance. Although there were differences in the preference for themes, there were no significant differences in the desire to participate among political groups in Kerala nor between Dalits and Hindu nationalists in Maharashtra.




Although all the themes were back translated to insure equivalence with their meaning in English, it seems likely that there are important cultural nuances. We cannot be sure that the desire for justice extends to an agreement on how it may be attained and nuances may explain national differences in theme preference that are worthy of careful exploration. However, the overall homogeneity of the data and the small effect sizes for nationality suggests that all the themes that were explored could be used in celebrations of global community. All were liked by over 80% of participants. And even the most controversial theme–Some basic Goodness in the universe that wants justice for all—was desired by over 75% of participants in all but two nations. The theme of courage to build justice for the children who will inherit this world was wanted by over 85% in every one of the 25 nations and was completely rejected by less than 2 % of participants. The fact that females were slightly more supportive of the themes and indicated a slightly greater desire to participate than males suggests that women may be somewhat more supportive of community and it is interesting to note that the largest gender differences occurred with regard to the themes involving justice. However, all themes were heavily supported by both genders and the average male indicated a willingness to participate in a celebration of global community.

It might be objected that the manner in which the themes were presented made it difficult for respondents to reject them. Certainly the suggestion of “celebrating” global community presents the idea in an appealing way that contrasts with the sort of political-economic globalization that is threatening local communities and national identities. However, there were clear choices to “not want” or “prefer not” each theme and since these choices were used by many participants and resulted in clear theme preferences an overall acquiescence bias seems unlikely. Further, since responses were anonymous there was no need for respondents to express a desire to participate in a celebration and the fact that many did so suggests that the themes were genuinely appealing. It would seem that the results do not appear to reflect social desirability in any narrow sense. Rather, they appear to reflect social desirability in the sense of an emerging global social norm.  Hence, the study suggests the basis for common rituals that could potentially unify the many peoples of the world.

Of course, our ability to generalize from this set of data is limited by the sample. Although the sample is quite broad in terms of language, nationality, and religion it is not a sample of ethnic groups and does not include any indigenous groups or a sufficient representation of peoples from Africa or the Mideast. Further, the invitation to participate was couched in terms of evaluating themes that might be used in celebrations of global community and those for whom global community was an anathema may not have chosen to participate. The sample came from the classes or Facebook posts of investigators who must have been sympathetic to the idea of global community, and one presumes that the students and acquaintances who were involved would also tend to be sympathetic. To some extent we were able to overcome this limitation by acquiring samples from groups or regions which might be supposed to be less favorable to the idea of global community. Although there were some statistically significant differences, and it is interesting to note that the sample from a private school was slightly less interested in celebrating global community, the majority in all the different groups indicated a desire to participate.

It must be noted that the sample is largely college educated and likely to be modernist or progressive in orientation. We were unable to secure samples from religious fundamentalists, extreme nationalists, or from groups representing extreme poverty or wealth. Fundamentalists are concerned that too much individual choice and loose communal boundaries may unravel the social fabric of community (Jensen, 1998). They may be more likely to resist seeing themselves as members of an open global community, and nationalists may fear losing control to influences outside national boundaries.  On the one hand, this may not pose a serious problem. A recent random survey of U.S. citizens described a global community based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights and found that 70% of the 600 respondents were willing to be part of such a community and over half were willing to commit to being active members (Marcus, Deutsch, & Liu, 2016). On the other hand, circumstance in some nations may lead a majority to be fundamentalist or nationalistic so it is unclear if a worldwide random sample of persons would confirm the U.S. findings.

It is important to note that in spite of strong preferences for most of the possible themes, there were two nations (Serbia and Poland) where only 38% of the sample indicated a clear desire to participate in a celebration of global community. The indication of a desire to participate is a personal endorsement of the idea of global community and the idea was clearly less attractive in these nations. It seems possible that events in Serbia and Poland have led some participants to experience a sense of marginalization and hopelessness about achieving the sort of global community suggested by the themes. Some support for this idea is suggested by the fact that the average national scores for the theme of a basic Goodness in the universe that wants justice for all were significantly lower than those in all the other nations. Of course, such a conjecture needs to be thoroughly tested.

Those who want to create a global community must translate common themes into rituals that can unify all who wish to participate. To some extent this is already beginning to occur, particularly around the theme of the Goodness of our sun, plants, animals and earth. Thus, Earth Day is now celebrated by events in 190 nations and Earth Hour, when lights are simultaneously turned off for an hour, now occurs in 187 countries and territories. In the latter case, the World Wildlife Fund (2017) reports steadily increasing participation with lights now turned off in over 12,000 landmarks and monuments, over 3.6 million visitors to their web site, and over 3.5 billion preparatory twitter hashtags.

How might common themes be celebrated in a way that involves emotion and includes the celebration of local culture? One possibility would be to use local music, dance and dress as an emotional background for a simple call and response ritual. In call and response, a form of democratic participation that originated in Sub-Saharan cultures, a leader calls out a theme to which participants respond with a common refrain. Such a ritual may be used in any public gathering and a pilot study using the themes as the call with the response “we are one people” showed that this increased a sense of global identity (de Rivera & Carson, 2015). Such a celebration of global identity can easily be added to local celebrations. It could begin with a recognition of the uniqueness and solidarity of the local community, followed by a statement about the need for global community and how celebrations of local and global  community are being  held all over the world. And it could close with the singing of any of the many local songs that suggest unity and posting videos of the local ceremonies on U tube.

Although such celebrations could be created we do not know if most people would actually participate. The findings of this study do not indicate the strength of the desire to participate in a celebration of global community. They simply indicate that there is a great deal of shared agreement across 25 countries as to common themes that might be celebrated and that many people say they would like to participate. We cannot be sure as to the strength or centrality of this attitude. Whether such an inclination would translate into actual participation probably depends on whether ones friends are participating and a number of other situational factors. We have no knowledge of the extent to which there may be an underlying desire for global solidarity, and whether such a longing might be heightened by the impact of a human tragedy or victory. It would be interesting to see if   simply sharing knowledge about the extent of agreement on common human themes might  further a sense of global community and  encourage its celebration. However,  the extent to which people will participate in celebrations of global community and the degree to which participation may have  positive effects will only be known when there are more celebrations of the global community.



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Appendix A

Percent Respondents Who Would Like or Definitely Want Each Theme and Who would Probably or Definitely want to Participate

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Appendix B


Other Themes for Celebration

The knowledge and appreciation of the diversity in cultures, peoples, skin colors, and religions around the world


The acceptance and respect for others as individuals

Our essential similarities as humans: The common human need for relatedness; the fact that we can communicate and want to; that we are all vulnerable human beings starting from the same place and going to the same place


Love among people; human kindness and generosity; friendship; partnerships between generations and genders


Earth Day and the promotion of sustainability; coming together to protect and cherish the natural world; water; the animals of our world


Our human creativity and inventiveness


Music and the arts


The joy of sports


An undying desire to question, discover, cast light over the shadows of superstation


Achieving world peace; the eradication of armed conflict as a way of resolving disputes


Recovering the sources of work that are being lost


Revolutionary ventures that have changed the world for the better


The elimination of caste


Local Festivals


Those who contribute to our human welfare: Farmers; Teachers who give proper education to children; Grand contributors to human endeavors such as Gandhi and Einstein


Social Equality; the just distribution of wealth


The reduction of poverty; the ending of sickness


Democracy; Freedom; Human rights; Freedom of speech


Those who were slaves; the victims of the paste




Disabled persons


The aiding of children who need help


The undying love for all the children of the world


© 2018, American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors permission. The final article will be available, upon publication, via its DOI: 10.1037/pac0000340



International Research Project on Developing Global Community

Research Team
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