Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Sectarian tension
Split tribal urban loyalty
Divisive sectarian loyalties
Social disunity
Estranged neighbourhood relations
Insular patterns of community groupings
Community rivalry
Small group clusterings
Divisive patterns of community groupings

Sectarianism is a debated concept. Some scholars and journalists understand it as being pre-existing fixed communal categories in society, and use it to explain political, cultural, or religious conflicts between groups. Others conceive of sectarianism as a set of social practices where daily life is organised on the basis of communal norms and rules that individuals strategically use and transcend. This definition highlights the co-constitutive aspect of sectarianism and people’s agency, as opposed to understanding sectarianism as being fixed and incompatible communal boundaries.

While sectarianism is often labelled as 'religious' and/or 'political', the reality of a sectarian situation is usually much more complex. In its most basic form, sectarianism has been defined as, 'the existence, within a locality, of two or more divided and actively competing communal identities, resulting in a strong sense of dualism which unremittingly transcends commonality, and is both culturally and physically manifest.'

There is a general break-down in the cohesive patterns of life in many small communities. Difficulties arise between the traditional decision-making groups which have remained unchanged for many years and overlapping city and township authorities; this leads to ineffective planning, conflicts over the use of large equipment, and inequitable delivery of utilities and services. Urban mobility and anonymity compound the problem: there is a lack of consensus on standards of behaviour and law enforcement. It is difficult for newcomers to become part of the community life, for there are few regular activities; past failures in sustaining community participation have made people reluctant to try again.
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST