Research Seminar | The Challenger's Winning Coalition: Mobilization of Religion in Ethnic Civil War
When is shared religion mobilized in ethnic civil war? Most civil wars are fought between distinct ethnic groups but in the last half a century mobilization of religion is increasingly common, mostly in conflict between ethnic groups that share religion. While the literature explains the role of religion in conflict onset - especially between groups segmented by religion, the reason why religion becomes an organizing principle in an ongoing violent conflict between ethnic groups that share a religion is under-studied. We argue that in response to competition for followers in civil war, ethnic minority leaders sharing religion with majorities are increasingly likely to mobilize the religious identity through an oversized Challenger's Winning Coalition as the demographic balance of the ethnic groups evens out. We test this conjecture using the new A-Religion data on the religion, religious overlap and relative sizes of all ethnic groups in civil war from 1975-2015.
Jóhanna Kristín Birnir is a Professor in the department of Government and Politics and the director of GVPT Global Learning. Jóhanna studies the effect of identity (ethnicity, religion, gender) on contentious political outcomes (elections and violence), and has done extensive fieldwork in the Andes, South-East Europe and Indonesia. Jóhanna's first book "Ethnic Electoral Politics" (Cambridge University Press) examines the relationship between political access and minority strategic choice of peaceful electoral participation, protest or violence against the state. Her most recent book (with Nil Satana) "Alternatives in Mobilization: Ethnicity, Religion and Political Conflict" (Cambridge University Press in 2022), examines the relationship between identity (ethnicity and religion) and minority peaceful and violent political mobilization. Jóhanna's articles on identity and politics are published in numerous academic journals including the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Party Politics, Latin American Research Review, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Journal of Global Security Studies. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Global Religion Research Initiative among others.
During the course 2022-23, IBEI has organised a series of research seminars, which normally take place once a week. Check the 2022-23 programme