Category: Northern Ireland

Matthew Isaacs on Religion & Ethnic Rebellion

Why do some ethnic conflicts become infused with religious rhetoric while others do not? Matthew Isaacs, a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, discusses his dissertation research investigating why Protestants in Northern Ireland were quick to attach religion to their conflict whereas Catholics were not. He also examines the role of Buddhist monks in the civil war in Sri Lanka to discover some interesting patterns. Matt argues that when religious groups within an ethnicity face significant competition among confessional lines, and when resources to these religious groups are on the wane, religion has a tendency to become more salient.

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