With the unexpected and disconcerting reemergence of religion as a first order cleavage in global politics, scholars and policy makers have been scrambling to bring some analytical order to the phenomenon. In this article, the author seeks to show why the existing approaches to religious violence are limited in their explanatory value. In the first approach, there is a denial of the significance of religious cleavages writ large. In the second approach there is an excessive emphasis on theology and individual motivations. It offers an approach derived from historical institutionalism and argues that this approach generates a useful and different frame within which to understand the phenomenon of religious conflict and violence.

Full article text: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2757450