This thesis explores how interreligious dialogue is experienced and described by young adults actively involved in dialogue in Lebanon. By conducting qualitative interviews with the leaders of, and some of the participants in, four Lebanese NGOs, I obtained an interview material which allowed me to examine the descriptions given by young adults engaged in interreligious dialogue, concerning their views on and experiences with the topic. The main focus lies on how the informants interpret the significance of interreligious dialogue, what role the dialogue and the NGOs constitute in the informants’ lives and how they view the relation between interreligious dialogue and politics in Lebanon.
The thesis discusses how new social categories are created inside of the interreligious NGOs. First, by using theories of contact, dialogue and relational space, I argue that the informants see dialogue in a very practical perspective. Then, by using theories of categorization I argue that the shared spaces created by the NGOs become retreats from the categorization and labeling my informants experience in the Lebanese society in general, because they attract not only people who are different from themselves but at the same time similar. Finally, by using theories of categorization, and arena and process approaches to politics, I argue that the informants distance themselves from the political sphere. However, according to a process approach to politics, my informants can still be defined as political actors and interreligious dialogue as a political activity.