Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Political Sources of Religious Identification: Evidence from the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Border

  • John F. McCauley and Daniel N. Posner

Abstract

Under what conditions does religion become a salient social identity? By measuring religious attachment among the people living astride the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire border in West Africa, an arbitrary boundary that exposes otherwise similar individuals to different political contexts, this article makes a case for the importance of the political environment in affecting the weight that people attach to their religious identities. After ruling out explanations rooted in the proportion of different religious denominations, the degree of secularization and the supply of religious institutions on either side of the border, as well as differences in the degree of religious pluralism at the national level, it highlights the greater exposure of Ivorian respondents to the politicization of religion during Côte d’Ivoire’s recent civil conflict. Methodologically, the study demonstrates the power – and challenges – of exploiting Africa’s arbitrary borders as a source of causal leverage.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park (email: mccauley@umd.edu); James S. Coleman Professor of International Development, Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles (email: dposner@polisci.ucla.edu). The authors thank the UCLA Globalization Research Center Africa for financial support and Ibrahima Ouattara, Aimé Bado, Ollo Edmond Da, Warhanti Da and Alice Ham for their excellent research assistance. Daniel de Kadt, Thad Dunning, members of the Working Group in African Political Economy, and workshop participants at Arizona State, Princeton and Michigan provided useful comments on related versions. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Afrobarometer. 2015. Afrobarometer Data – Round 2 Data by Country. Available from http://afrobarometer.org/round2c.html, accessed 10 September 2015.
Alesina, Alberto, Devleeschauwer, Arnaud, Easterly, William, Kurlat, Sergio, and Wacziarg, Romain. 2003. Fractionalization. Journal of Economic Growth 8:155194.
Alesina, Alberto, Easterly, William, and Matuszeski, Janina. 2011. Artificial States. Journal of the European Economic Association 9:246277.
Barrett, David B., Kurian, George T., and Johnson, Todd M.. 2001. World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World Vol. 2 The World by Segments. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Berger, Peter L. 1967. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor Books.
Brownlie, Ian. 1979. African Boundaries: A Legal and Diplomatic Encyclopedia. London: C. Hurst and Company.
Daddieh, Cyril. 2001. Elections and Ethnic Violence in Côte d’Ivoire: The Unfinished Business of Succession and Democratic Transition. African Issues 29 (1/2):1419.
Delafosse, Maurice. 1912. Haut-Sénégal-Niger: Le Pays, les Peuples, les Langues, l’Histoire, les Civilisations. Paris: Emile Larose.
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2002. The Political Voice of Clergy. Journal of Politics 64 (2):596609.
Dunning, Thad. 2008. Improving Causal Inference: Strengths and Limitations of Natural Experiments. Political Research Quarterly 61:282293.
Dunning, Thad. 2012. Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Eifert, Benn, Miguel, Edward, and Posner, Daniel N.. 2010. Political Competition and Ethnic Identification in Africa. American Journal of Political Science 52:494510.
Englebert, Pierre. 1996. Burkina Faso: Unsteady Statehood in West Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Finke, Roger, and Iannaccone, Laurence R.. 1993. Supply-Side Explanations for Religious Change. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 527:2739.
Fox, Jonathan. 2012. The Religious Wave: Religion and Domestic Conflict from 1960 to 2009. Civil Wars 14 (2):141158.
Fox, Jonathan. 2013. An Introduction to Religion and Politics: Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge.
Green, Elliott. 2012. On the Size and Shape of African States. International Studies Quarterly 56 (2):229244.
Gribetz, Jonathan M. 2014. Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Arab-Zionist Encounter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Harris, Frederick C. 1994. Something Within: Religion as a Mobilizer of African-American Political Activism. Journal of Politics 56 (1):4268.
Haynes, Jeffrey. 1999. Religion, Globalization, and Political Culture in the Third World. London: Macmillan Press.
Herbst, Jeffrey. 2000. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Huillery, Elise. 2006. Colonization, Institutions and Development in the Former French West Africa. Unpublished paper, DIAL-IRD.
Huntington, Samuel P. 1993. The Clash of Civilizations? Foreign Affairs 72:2249.
International Crisis Group. 2014. Central African Republic: Better Late than Never, Briefing No. 96, ICG Africa, 2 December.
Jackson, Robert H., and Rosberg, Carl G.. 1982. Personal Rule in Black Africa: Prince, Autocrat, Prophet, Tyrant. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Jelen, Ted G., and Wilcox, Clyde. 2002. Religion: The One, the Few, and the Many. In Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective: The One, the Few, and the Many, edited by Ted G. Jelen and Clyde Wilcox, 126. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 126.
Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2000. Commitment Problems in Emerging Democracies: The Case of Religious Parties. Comparative Politics 32 (4):379398.
Keele, Luke, and Titiunik, Rocío. 2015. Natural Experiments Based on Geography. Political Science Research and Methods 4 (1):6595.
Konate, Siendou A. 2004. The Politics of Identity and Violence in Côte d’Ivoire. West Africa Review 5. Available from http://www.westafricareview.com/issue5/konate.htm, accessed 5 July 2015.
Kress, Brad. 2006. Burkina Faso: Testing the Tradition of Circular Migration. Migration Information Source. Available from http://www.migrationinformation.org/Profi les/display.cfm?ID=399, accessed 7 January 2017.
Laitin, David D. 1986. Hegemony and Culture: Politics and Religious Change Among the Yoruba. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Langer, Armin. 2005. Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Group Mobilization in Côte d’Ivoire. Oxford Development Studies 33 (1):2545.
Le Temps . 2009. Incitation à la haine tribale et à l’insurrection du RDR: Ouattara, un danger pour la cohésion sociale [Incitement of tribal hatred and the RDR insurrection: Ouattara, a danger to social cohesion], Le Temps, 30 June.
Levitt, Steven D., and List, John A.. 2007. What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World? Journal of Economic Perspectives 21:153174.
Loada, Augustin. 2006. L’élection présidentielle du 13 novembre 2005: Un plébiscite par défaut [The presidential election of November 13, 2005: A plebiscite by default]. Politique Africaine 101:1941.
McCauley, John F., and Posner, Daniel N.. 2015. African Borders as Sources of Natural Experiments: Promise and Pitfalls. Political Science Research and Methods 3 (2):409418.
McCleary, Rachel, and Barro, Robert. 2006. Religion and Economy. Journal of Economic Perspectives 20 (2):4972.
McGovern, Michael. 2011. Making War in Côte d’Ivoire. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Mickenberg, Michael. 2009. Religion and Euroscepticism: Cleavages, Religious Parties, and Churches in EU Member States. West European Politics 32 (6):11901211.
Norris, Pippa, and Inglehart, Ronald. 2004. Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ouédraogo, Dieudonné. 2002. Migrations Circulaires et Enjeux Identitaires en Afrique de l’Ouest. Les Cahiers du Gres 3 (1):724.
Posner, Daniel N. 2004. The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi. American Political Science Review 98 (3):529545.
Posner, Daniel N. 2005. Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ranger, Terence O. 1986. Religious Movements and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa. African Studies Review 29 (2):169.
Reynal-Queral, Marta. 2002. Ethnicity, Political Systems, and Civil Wars. Journal of Conflict Resolution 46:2954.
Roberts, Thomas D., Bouton, Donald, Kaplan, Irving, Lent, Barbara, Townsend, Charles, and Walpole, Neda. 1973. Area Handbook for Ivory Coast. Washington, DC: American University – Foreign Area Studies Press.
Roger, Jacques. 2010. Côte d’Ivoire: Le RDR, L’Ivoirité, Alassane D. Ouattara et sa Rebellion en Côte d’Ivoire. Ivoirenews. Available from http://ivoirenews.net/info24/tld/5520.html, accessed 26 March 2015.
Scorgie-Porter, Lindsay. 2015. Militant Islamists or Border Dissidents? An Explanation into the Allied Democratic Forces’ Recruitment Practices and Constitution. The Journal of Modern African Studies 53 (1):125.
Soudan, François. 2003. French, Go Home? Jeune Afrique Intelligent 8:61.
Stark, Rodney, and Iannaccone, Laurence R.. 1994. A Supply-Side Reinterpretation of the ‘Secularization’ of Europe. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33 (3):230252.
Toft, Monica Duffy. 2007. Getting Religion? The Puzzling Case of Islam and Civil War. International Security 31 (4):97131.
US Department of State. 2005. International Religious Freedom Report, 2005. Available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51465.htm, accessed 17 July 2015.
Usunier, Jean-Claude, and Stolz, Jörg, eds. 2014. Religions as Brands: New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
Vüllers, Johannes. 2011. Fighting for the Kingdom of God? The Role of Religion in the Ivorian Crisis, Working Paper No. 178. Hamburg: German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
Wald, Kenneth D., Silverman, Adam, and Fridy, Kevin S.. 2005. Making Sense of Religion in Political Life. Annual Review of Political Science 8:121143.
Weber, Eugen. 1976. Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870–1914. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Wilson, Brian R. 1966. Religion in Secular Society. Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed