Regulating Religious Minorites: For Better or Worse?

Conference Paper

Nordås, Ragnhild (2004) Regulating Religious Minorites: For Better or Worse?, presented at ISA Annual Convention 2004, Montreal, Canada, March 2004.

Religion has become one of the (if not the) hottest issue(s) in the 21st Century. Captured by the ‘spirit of our time’, this paper investigates the impact of religion on civil war; more specifically, the relationship between religious heterogeneity, religious regulations, and intrastate armed conflict from 1990–2002. The main contribution of this paper is not only the investigation of religion in particular, whereas the bulk of the literature on civil war has focused on ethnicity, but that I consider the interaction of religious heterogeneity and religious state regulations. I find that religious cleavages do not by themselves explain civil war. However, for countries with a religious cleavage, increasing regulation of religious minorities for the sake of stability can have the quite opposite effect – increasing the risk of intrastate armed conflict.


Ragnhild Nordås

Ragnhild Nordås

Senior Researcher