Faith's role in peacebuilding

Professors Carole Rakodi and Gurharpal Singh, now at SOAS, coordinated this project to analyse the role of religions in the aftermath of violent conflict between religious groups. They worked to identify when and in what way religious leaders and organisations play a role in peace-building, the welfare of those affected, longer-term reconstruction, and the rebuilding of social relations.

Identity formation

There has been a considerable amount of research on the role of religion in violent conflict, for example, as one of the possible bases for identity formation and mobilisation. Yet compared to conflicts themselves, ‘post-conflict’ periods had not really been studied. 

In addition, the specific role of religion in the immediate and longer-term aftermath of violent episodes (the return to calm and the process of reconstruction) appeared to have been neglected. 

Conflict prevention

The team analysed religion’s role in the aftermath of single or recurrent episodes of violent conflict between religious groups in urban areas in India, Pakistan and Nigeria. By doing this, the project developed a better understanding of the roles and attitudes of religious groups. 

Its results, including three working papers and a journal article, have informed actors, including religious organisations, government and political bodies and secular civil society organisations, that have been involved in conflict prevention and transformation processes.