John D. Brewer, Gareth I. Higgins and Francis Teeney

in Religion, Civil Society, and Peace in Northern Ireland

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199694020
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191730825 | DOI:

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The Conclusion summarizes the major arguments, both with respect to the conceptual framework for the comparative analysis of religious peacebuilding and the Northern Irish case study. It offers a critique of current interpretations of the role of religion in the Northern Irish peace process and of the field of religious peacebuilding more generally, making an argument for the utility of the ideas advanced in the book. It makes three provocative and controversial conclusions: that ecumenism failed Northern Ireland, and that, despite its lauding in the international literature, it was exclusive and conservative, the real religious driver of change being the conversion of liberal evangelicals to the peace process; that civil society contributions to democratic transitions can be romanticized and overlook its regressive elements; and that the notion of spiritual capital has limits in societies where religion is wrapped up in the conflict.

Keywords: ecumenism; spiritual capital; civil society; religious peacebuilding; individualization; evangelicalism

Chapter.  12476 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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