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Ritual Participation, Sacred Values, Violence and lntergroup Conflict



PI: Dr Paulo Sousa

This project is supported by a grant of $193,000 from EOARD (European Office of Aerospace Research and Development).

Project Overview

The research is framed in terms of the Devoted Actor Model of Radicalization developed by anthropologist Scott Atran and colleagues, which focuses on the roles of sacred and moral values, fusion with the group, threat perception in calibrating radicalization in the context of inter-group conflict. In addition, we shall probe the role of ritual participation in enhancing sacredness, fusion with the group and perceptions of group strength. The research is in the context of the Northern Ireland conflict, that is, the conflict between Loyalists/Unionists/Protestants and Republicans/Nationalists/Catholics, but focusing on the more sectarian sections of these groups.


(i) To probe in detail how the variables presence/absence of sacred values, fusion with group, threat perception and ritual participation contribute to radicalization in the context of the sectarian population in NI.

(ii) To probe the exact nature of radicalization existent in a situation of post-conflict, where inter-group violence has diminished substantially, though there are still sectarian attitudes.

(iii) To draw lessons from the NI conflict that may contribute to advance the peace processes in other areas of inter-group conflict.  

Contact Information

General Office Location: 
14 University Square, Room G01
Mon - Friday, 8.30 - 4.30pm
Tel:  +44 (0) 28 9097 3701
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3700

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