Matthias Basedau / Alexander De Juan

The ‘Ambivalence of the Sacred’ in Africa: The Impact of Religion on Peace and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

GIGA Working Paper, No. 70, March 2008

Abstract
Given the widespread focus on socioeconomic factors, it comes as no surprise that religion is neglected in most theoretical explanations of African civil conflicts. While scholarly interest is increasing in light of the civil wars in Sudan, Nigeria, and northern Uganda, no systematic empirical analysis has been undertaken to date. Hence, this paper aims to provide a preliminary assessment of the role of religions in sub-Saharan civil conflicts. Quantitative and qualitative analysis based on a newly compiled database including 28 violent conflicts show that religion plays a role more frequently than is usually assumed and that the effects of religions are principally ambiguous. Religious actors and institutions have escalating effects in many cases, yet more often they become active for peace. Religious identities and ideas seem to have a particular impact on conflict. Even though religion seems secondary when compared to classical "risk factors," the findings demonstrate that religious factors have to be taken seriously when analyzing civil conflicts in Africa.

GIGA-Forschung zum Thema

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GIGA AutorInnen

Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

Direktor des GIGA Instituts für Afrika-Studien
Redaktion GIGA Focus Afrika

Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau ist Direktor des GIGA Instituts für Afrika-Studien und Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Hamburg. Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte sind politische Institutionen und bewaffnete Konflikte, beides im besonderen Zusammenhang mit Ethnizität, natürlichen Ressourcen und Religion. Er ist zudem Regionalkoordinator für West- und Zentralafrika beim Bertelsmann Transformation Index.

Aktuelle Publikationen der AutorInnen

Matthias Basedau

Party Systems in Africa

in: Nic Cheeseman (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming

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Sleep, Bark, or Bite: Do Natural Resources Make the Difference Regarding Peaceful or Violent Conflict?

International Area Studies Review, 23, 2020, 1, 73-92

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Immer noch ein wichtiger Faktor: das Militär in Afrika

GIGA Focus Afrika, 05/2020

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Universal love or one true religion? Experimental evidence of the ambivalent effect of religious ideas on altruism and discrimination

American Journal of Political Science, 64, 2020, 3, 603-620

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Book Review: Africanistan - Development or Jihad? by Serge Mihailof

Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, 2019