Religion and state failure: An examination of the extent and magnitude of religious conflict from 1950 to 1996

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Abstract

Although the role of religion in conflict has been gaining increasing attention in recent times, few cross-sectional studies have examined the extent to which internal conflict since World War II has been religious, and those that have done so are limited in either the type of conflict or time span they cover. Accordingly, this article uses the State Failure data set to assess whether the relative and absolute number of religious conflicts since World War II has increased, whether these conflicts are more intense than other conflicts, and whether any particular religions participate in conflict more often than others. The findings show that while occurring less often than other types of conflicts, religious conflicts have increased between 1950 and 1996, and are more intense than nonreligious conflicts. Also, Christian groups disproportionally participate in internal conflict, but most of those conflicts are with other Christian groups. This, along with other findings of the study, contradicts major elements of Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-76+130
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Keywords

  • Clash of civilizations
  • Conflict
  • Religion
  • Samuel Huntington
  • State failure

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