Religion has regained political prominence in the twenty first century and not least for the manner in which it intersects with ethnicity. Many ethnic conflicts have a strong religious dimension, and religion appears as a powerful force for mobilisation, solidarity and violence. Religion and ethnicity can each act as a powerful base of identity, group formation and communal conflict. They can also overlap, with ethnic and religious boundaries coinciding, partially or completely, internally nested or intersecting.

This volume maps the different forms of intersection: cases where religion is prioritised in private life and ethnicity in public, where each coexists in tension in political life, and where the distinctions reinforce each other with dynamic effects. It maps the different patterns with case studies and comparisons from Ireland, Northern Ireland, France, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Malaysia. It shows how ordinary people construct their solidarities and identities using both ethnic and religious resources. This opens up analysis of the socially transformative, as well as politically antagonistic, potential of religion in situations of ethnic division.

This book was published as a special issue of Ethnopolitics.