Religion has regained political prominence in the twenty first century and not least for the manner in which it intersects with ethnicity. Many ethnic conflicts have a strong religious dimension, and religion appears as a powerful force for mobilisation, solidarity and violence. Religion and ethnicity can each act as a powerful base of identity, group formation and communal conflict. They can also overlap, with ethnic and religious boundaries coinciding, partially or completely, internally nested or intersecting.
This volume maps the different forms of intersection: cases where religion is prioritised in private life and ethnicity in public, where each coexists in tension in political life, and where the distinctions reinforce each other with dynamic effects. It maps the different patterns with case studies and comparisons from Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Malaysia. It shows how ordinary people construct their solidarities and identities using both ethnic and religious resources. This opens up analysis of the socially transformative, as well as politically antagonistic, potential of religion in situations of ethnic division.
This book was published as a special issue of Ethnopolitics.
Table of Contents
1. Ethnicity and Religion: Redefining the Research Agenda Joseph Ruane and Jennifer Todd 2. The Situational Importance of Ethnicity and Religion in Ghana Arnim Langer 3. Legible Pluralism: The Politics of Ethnic and Religious Identification in Malaysia Graham K. Brown 4. The Push and Pull between Religion and Ethnicity: The Case of Loyalists in Northern Ireland Claire Mitchell 5. Religious and Ethnonational Identification and Political Violence Robert D. Lowe and Orla T. Muldoon 6. Symbolic Complexity and Political Division: The Changing Role of Religion in Northern Ireland Jennifer Todd 7. Ethnoreligious Change in Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe: A Comparative Study of How Religious Havens Can Have Ethnic Significance Gladys Ganiel 8. Ethnicity, Religion and Peoplehood: Protestants in France and in Ireland Joseph Ruane
Joseph Ruane is Professor at the Department of Sociology, University College Cork. He is a historical sociologist who has written extensively on Irish historical development, the Northern Ireland conflict and settlement, and on Protestant minorities in contemporary Europe.
Jennifer Todd is Professor at and Director of the Institute for British Irish Studies at the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin. She has written extensively on the Northern Ireland conflict and settlement, and more generally on issues of identity (including ethno-national identity) and identity change.