Concluding Chapter: Social Capital as Product, Condition and Dynamic of Interreligious Engagement
This chapter draws together findings from case studies of interreligious dialogue in Stockholm, London, Hamburg and Oslo. It begins with reflections on contextual factors influencing interreligious relations, specifically on the role of religion in the societies where the interreligious activities are taking place. It proceeds to the main research question, whether social capital is product of or condition for interreligious dialogue, applying to it elements of social capital theory. It uses Halpern’s categories of individual- and ecological-level to consider the relationship and power dynamic between the individual dispositions that participants bring to interreligious dialogue and the systems and narratives that constitute the interreligious ecology. The concept of religious institutions as incubators of civic skills and norms fits the individual dispositions model, whereas the view of religion as a societal challenge to be managed relates more closely to the ecological-level. Despite general subscription to the broad norms of mutual respect and intercommunity harmony, the relation of religions to society and to each other is not free from social challenge and tensions. The instability within the system gives agency to the individual players who need to apply their social resources to foster positive relations and secure their own position in the system.
KeywordsReligion in society Social capital Individual dispositions Interreligious ecology Interreligious norms Civic skills
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