Despite the associations with conflict, religion is also a site of reconciliation. The limited literature on this, however, is constrained by its case study approach. This article seeks to establish a conceptual framework for theorizing the relationship between religion and peacemaking in conflict societies where religion is perceived to be part of the problem. The key to this is civil society and the four socially strategic spaces that religious groups can occupy within civil society and by means of which they can play a role as ‘bridging social capital’ in peace processes. However, religious peacemaking is mediated by the wider civil-society/state nexus. This shows itself in two sets of variables that simultaneously constrain and facilitate the relationship between religion and peacebuilding. We illustrate the framework with evidence from several examples in order to show how comparative analysis simultaneously illuminates case studies.
- civil society
- peace processes