Religion and Security in Today’s Neo-liberal World

  • Kelly W. SundbergEmail author


Religion stands as a powerful social and psychological influence, capable of compelling both individuals and groups to set aside their self-interest or even lives to advance the core aims of their religion or beliefs. This chapter aims to unravel the many challenges associated with defining and describing religion and security within the context of today’s neo-liberal world. Central to the examination is how overgeneralisations of the narrative regarding religious hostilities and conflict can risk these hostilities becoming exacerbated and expanded. Included is a critical discussion of the role security plays in either mitigating or aggravating the threat of religious violence. It is argued that religious violence is far less about one’s solemn belief in a mystical supernatural power, than it is about despondency, social alienation, and moral disengagement on the part of the combatants, and far more about the greed, social dominance, and desire for sovereign domain on the part of the instigators. Ultimately, it is held that in the absence of a broadly defined definition for religion, it is of fundamental importance that those with influence, agency, and voice—namely government leaders, journalists, and academics—use great caution when describing conflicts, hostilities, and threats that on the surface are justified by religion. It is concluded that peace and security are best achieved through a steadfast commitment to broad inquiry, accepting that what we hold as certainties may at times change as a result of this inquiry.



The author wishes to thank Dr. Jamie K. Ferrill, along with Dan M. Levinson and Thomas D. Lamb, for their insight, feedback, and edits.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Justice and Policy StudiesMount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada

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