In his introduction to Peace and Democratic Society, Professor Sen argues that focussing on themes such as religion, inequality and poverty can be dangerously divisive. Rather than trying to build bridges based on these terms, Sen argues that governments should develop social policies that foster connections and diversity.
Sen writes: “The diversity of civil society engagements needs support, not supplanting. Bangladesh’s success in burying religion-based violence as well as in curbing the hold of religious extremism has been helped greatly by focusing on linguistic identity and the richness of Bengali literature, music and culture, in addition to fostering secular politics, rather than holding inter-religious dialogues.”
Peace and Democratic Society is the publication is book form of the report Civil Paths to Peace, commissioned by the Commonwealth Commission. The report, undertaken by a panel of experts and overseen by Professor Sen was previously only circulated to a specialist audience. The publications of Peace and Democratic Society now makes the research available to a wider audience.