Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Everyday Practices of Toleration: The Interfaith Foundations of Peace Accords in Sierra Leone

  • Joel Day (a1)

Abstract

Under what conditions can faith leaders influence peace in civil wars? The ongoing conflict in Congo, Syria, and Yemen indicate that faith leaders can fuel sectarian divide, but also intervene on the side of peace. Drawing on experiences in Sierra Leone's civil war, this paper highlights the role of faith leaders as moral guarantors of peace processes, with respondent former rebels indicating that without interfaith delegations personally bringing the peace accord to their remote jungle camps, they would not have trusted the UN-led process. Ethnographic analysis and over 60 field interviews with former combatants and religious leaders, presents a model for answering why faith leaders were central in terminating this conflict. Combatant's personal experience with a diverse mixture of Christian, Traditional, and Islamic leaders contributed to high confidence in peace accords, due to interfaith practices deeply embedded within the culture and shows the dispositions, rituals, and interfaith practices that provided the cultural foundations for successful interfaith intervention. The paper ends with generalizations for other interfaith groups seeking to intervene in conflict.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Joel Day, Center for Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California. E-mail: joelkday@gmail.com

Footnotes

Hide All

I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors of Politics and Religion for their useful suggestions. I would also like to thank Andrew Blum and Amanda E. Donahoe for comments on earlier drafts.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Abdelal, Rawi, Herrera, Yoshiko M., Iain Johnston, Alastair, and McDermott, Rose. 2010. “Identity as a Variable.” Weatherhead Initiative of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, July. http://wcfia.harvard.edu/files/wcfia/files/1076_yh_identityvariable.pdf.
Adler, Emanuel, and Pouliot, Vincent. 2011. International Practices. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Appleby, R. Scott. 2000. The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict Series. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Autesserre, Séverine. 2014. Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Avalos, Hector. 2005. Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Bennet, Andrew, and Checkel, Jeffrey. 2014. Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Translated by Randall Johnson. 1st ed. Standford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Cetina, Karin Knorr, Schatzki, Theodore R., and von Savigny, Eike. 2005. The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. New York, NY: Routledge.
Collier, Paul, and Hoeffler, Anke. 2004. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War.” Oxford Economic Papers 56 (4): 563595.
Conteh, Prince Sorie. 2011. “The Role of Religion During and After the Civil War in Sierra Leone.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 24 (1): 5575.
Day, Joel. 2015. “Terrorist Practices: Sketching A New Research Agenda.” Perspectives on Terrorism 9 (6): 8594. http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/473.
De Certeau, Michel. 2002. “General Introduction to the Practice of Everyday Life.” In The Everyday Life Reader, ed. New York, NY: Highmore, Ben, Routledge, 373.
de Certeau, Michel. 2011. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
De Juan, Alexander, Pierskalla, Jan H., and Vüllers, Johannes. 2015. “The Pacifying Effects of Local Religious Institutions: An Analysis of Communal Violence in Indonesia.” Political Research Quarterly 68 (2): 211224.
Denny, Elaine, and Walter, Barbara F.. 2014. “Ethnicity and Civil War.” Journal of Peace Research 51 (2): 199212.
Dupret, Baudouin, Pierret, Thomas, Pinto, Paulo G., and Spellman-Poots, Kathryn, eds. 2013. Ethnographies of Islam: Ritual Performances and Everyday Practices. 1st ed. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.
Escher, Daniel. 2013. “How Does Religion Promote Forgiveness? Linking Beliefs, Orientations, and Practices.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52 (1): 100119.
Fearon, James D., and Laitin, David D.. 2003. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” The American Political Science Review 97 (01): 7590.
Gopin, Marc. 1997. “Religion, Violence, and Conflict Resolution.” Peace & Change 22 (1): 131.
Gopin, Marc. 2012. Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers. 1st ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Hashemi, Nader, and Postel, Danny. 2017. Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East. 1st ed. Oxford; New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Hassner, Ron, and Horowitz, Michael. 2010. “Correspondence: Debating the Role of Religion in War.” International Security 35 (1): 201208.
Hassner, Ron. 2011. “Religion and International Affairs: The State of the Art.” In Religion, Identity and Global Governance: Ideas, Evidence and Practice, edited by Lamy, Steven and James, Patrick, 3756. Toronto: Toronto University Press.
Haynes, Jeffrey. 2009. “Conflict, Conflict Resolution and Peace-Building: The Role of Religion in Mozambique, Nigeria and Cambodia.” Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 47 (1): 5275.
Hayward, Susan, and Marshall, Katherine. 2015. Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.
Horowitz, Michael. 2009. “Long Time Going: Religion and the Duration of Crusading.” International Security 34 (2): 162–93.
Juergensmeyer, Mark. 2003. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. 3rd ed. Completely Revised edition. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lozang Trinlae, Bhikshuni. 2014. “Prospects for A Buddhist Practical Theology.” International Journal of Practical Theology 18 (1): 722.
Millar, Gearoid. 2012. “’Our Brothers Who Went to the Bush’: Post-Identity Conflict and the Experience of Reconciliation in Sierra Leone.” Journal of Peace Research 49 (5): 717729.
News, U. N. 2013. “Inter-Religious Cooperation Can Be Vital Asset for Rebuilding Sierra Leone – UN Expert.” UN News. July 5, 2013. https://news.un.org/en/story/2013/07/443992-inter-religious-cooperation-can-be-vital-asset-rebuilding-sierra-leone-un.
Penfold, Peter. 2005. “Faith in Resolving Sierra Leone's Bloody Conflict.” The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 94 (382): 549557.
Phan, Peter C. 2003. “Multiple Religious Belonging: Opportunities and Challenges for Theology and Church.” Theological Studies 64 (3): 495519.
Pouliot, Vincent. 2010. International Security in Practice: The Politics of NATO-Russia Diplomacy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Pouliot, Vincent. 2014. “Practice Tracing.” In Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool, eds Bennet, Andrew and Checkel, Jeffrey. Vol. 237–59. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Sandal, Nukhet Ahu. 2012. “The Clash of Public Theologies?: Rethinking the Concept of Religion in Global Politics.” Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 37 (66): 6683.
Sandal, Nukhet A. 2017. Religious Leaders and Conflict Transformation: Northern Ireland and Beyond. Kindle: Cambridge University Press.
Sanín, Francisco Gutiérrez, and Wood, Elisabeth Jean. 2014. “Ideology in Civil War Instrumental Adoption and Beyond.” Journal of Peace Research 51 (2): 213226.
Schatzki, Theodore R. 1996. Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Searle, John. 1995. The Construction of Social Reality. London: Penguin Books.
Seligman, Adam B., Weller, Robert P., Puett, Michael J., and Simon, Bennett. 2008. Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity. 1st ed. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Sen, Amartya. 2006. Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Seul, Jeffrey R. 1999. “Ours Is the Way of God’: Religion, Identity, and Intergroup Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research 36 (5): 553569.
“Sierra Leone 2013 International Religious Freedom Report.” 2013. International Religious Freedom Report. U.S. State Department. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/222305.pdf.
Smock, David R. 2002. Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace.
Svensson, Isak. 2007. “Fighting with Faith Religion and Conflict Resolution in Civil Wars.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 51 (6).
Swinton, John, and Mowat, Harriet. 2016. Practical Theology and Qualitative Research. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: SCM Press.
Toft, Monica Duffy. 2006. “Issue Indivisibility and Time Horizons as Rationalist Explanations for War.” Security Studies 15 (1): 3469.
Turay, Thomas Mark. 2000. “Civil Society and Peacebuilding.” Accord 9 (1): 5054.
UN News. 2013. “Inter-Religious Cooperation Can Be Vital Asset for Rebuilding Sierra Leone – UN Expert.” UN News. July 5, 2013. https://news.un.org/en/story/2013/07/443992-inter-religious-cooperation-can-be-vital-asset-rebuilding-sierra-leone-un.
Varshney, Ashutosh. 2003. Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Whitehouse, Harvey, and Lanman, Jonathan. 2014. “The Ties That Bind Us: Ritual, Fusion, and Identification.” Current Anthropology 55 (6): 674695.

Everyday Practices of Toleration: The Interfaith Foundations of Peace Accords in Sierra Leone

  • Joel Day (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.