Back to search

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

EUI - Faith-based actors in international conflict resolution

Awarded: NOK 2.2 mill.

Recent decades have witnessed an increased political and academic interest in the peace-making potential of religion, as a response to the well-established links between religion and conflict. This interest has generated important knowledge on the potential of local religious leaders to create a social environment ?conducive to peace?; however, the issue of religious actors in international conflict resolution ? and their particular nature and impact ? remains relatively understudied. The issue of faith-based mediation is interesting because it is located at the intersection between different fields of ?practice? (and, consequently, academic literatures): faith-based politics, conflict resolution and international relations. As such, it requires an interdisciplinary approach that addresses both the micro-practices of faith-based mediation as well as its impact on international politics. Indeed, the phenomenon triggers a number of interesting questions of relevance both for the mediation literature and the IR literature concerned with religion: How do the practices and methodologies of faith-based mediators differ from those of ?conventional? mediators? What does the religious ?competence? or identity of faith-based actors ?mean? in the context of international conflict resolution (when it is necessarily decontextualized or ?applied? transnationally) - and what are its main functions? How do faith-based international mediators position themselves vis-à-vis official bodies of conflict resolution and how do they impact international relations? The aim of this project is two-fold. First, it seeks to develop a practice-oriented approach to faith-based mediation, drawing upon analytical concepts from mediation theory and practice theory. Secondly, it seeks to apply this framework through an empirical case study of the Catholic organization Sant?Egidio and their mediation initiative in Algeria in the 1990s.

The aim of the proposed study is to elaborate a historical analysis of dominant Algerian national identity constructions, since independence to the Arab spring. Identity constructions play a crucial role in politics because political decision makers depen d upon credible narratives about the identity about both self and others. National identity constructs like all identity constructs are historical products that serve particular ideological positions. Through decoding them we learn more about those who de ploy them and whose interest they serve. The research hypothesis is that the Algerian regime struggles with a communicative breakdown with society at large the national identity construct they project no longer resonates with large segments of the populat ion. This has become increasingly evident with the regimes positioning vis-à-vis the Arab spring and rapidly changing political landscape in North African region. Through a closer examination of the regimes historic national identity construct the project seeks to examine the political and ideological underpinnings of the Algerian state and facilitate for a historically founded assessment of the current challenges.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam