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Open AccessArticle

What Can Faith-Based Forms of Violent Conflict Prevention Teach Us About Liberal Peace?

Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, West Midlands, UK
Religions 2020, 11(4), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040167
Received: 7 January 2020 / Revised: 22 March 2020 / Accepted: 25 March 2020 / Published: 3 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peace, Politics, and Religion)
Faith-based actors are often recognised as contributors to both conflict and peace. However, their work to prevent violent conflict, rather than bring an end to or recover from it, is largely unexplored. This is despite the growth of conflict prevention as a global social norm and field of practice. Based on collaborative research with faith groups and organisations in Nigeria, the Solomon Islands and Zanzibar (Tanzania), this paper examines faith-based forms of violent conflict prevention. It argues that faith-based approaches exist on a spectrum, from instinctive and ad hoc initiatives run by individuals and local places of worship to large-scale, systematised interventions led by global faith-based development organisations. Yet, while faith-based approaches to violent conflict prevention vary in form and function, they are consistent and distinctive in their emphasis on building resilient relationships at the local level, modelling forms of prevention embedded within local culture and that recognise the emotional and spiritual dimensions of transformative change. Faith-based approaches offer insights valuable to the wider conflict prevention field, which is increasingly critiqued for its liberal underpinnings and emphasis on technical and technological solutionism. Lessons emerge for others implementing prevention programmes, who could adapt elements of the unhurried, values-led, relationally sensitive approach demonstrated by some faith-based actors, albeit within their own structural limitations. Policymakers should support such adaptations and expand their view of prevention to explicitly include faith-based forms of activity, as to do otherwise risks missing opportunities and reproducing existing failures. View Full-Text
Keywords: conflict prevention; faith; religion; liberal peace; peacebuilding; religious violence; technocracy; technology conflict prevention; faith; religion; liberal peace; peacebuilding; religious violence; technocracy; technology
MDPI and ACS Style

Payne, L. What Can Faith-Based Forms of Violent Conflict Prevention Teach Us About Liberal Peace? Religions 2020, 11, 167.

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