May religion contribute to civility at the local level in times of conflict? In the last blog entry of 2011, UiO researcher Iselin Frydenlund engages this complicated question by examining the concept of civility from historical and theoretical angles. Drawing on research in India and Sri Lanka, she proposes that religious practices aiming at bridging gaps between communities in times of conflict may best be understood via the concept of critical civility.
Frydenlund's text is commented by PRIO senior researcher Henrik Syse. In his contribution, Syse points to the hard choices confronted by religious believers in pluralist societies. The concept of critical civility, according to Syse, play right into these choices, challenging religions on how to be a part of the everyday world and overcome disagreements.
By Oddbjørn Leirvik
Whereas some forms of (etiquette-oriented) civility is nurtured by tradition, critical civility needs to be fostered by new forms of social behavior. In my view, this is where interreligious dialogue comes in.
By Anne Stensvold
Critical civility has the potential to become a universal analytical term. But is it possible for a state (like Norway) to create a strategy for its foreign policy focusing its resources in order to strengthen 'critical civility' in a given local setting?