Browsing by Author "Muller, Helgard Daniel"
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- ItemGlobal Jihad : three approaches to religion and political conflict(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2002-12) Muller, Helgard Daniel; Nel, P.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in America, and the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, have forced may people to seriously consider the impact of religion on political conflict. This literature review readdresses the serious neglect of religion in political studies by examining the three theoretical approaches to religion and political conflict, on the domestic and international level, that can be identified. Primordialists argue that differences in religious traditions should be viewed as one of the most important factors in explaining violent interactions in and between nations. They stress how differences in cultural identity and cosmologies can lead to violent conflict in and between nations. They illustrate how the deep malaise of modem secular society is leading to a backlash of alternative worldviews. This approach is culturally too simplistic in not providing a complex enough framework for understanding the dynamic social forces that constitute cultural identity. Instrumentalists admit that conflicts might be aggravated by diverging religious creeds but are rarel y if ever caused by them; instead most conflicts are about power and wealth. They emphasize the role played by political entrepreneurs, who use religion as an instrument to further their own goals. This approach is guilty of the other extreme - downplaying the role of religion and culture. Constructivists regard social conflicts as being embedded in cognitive structures like ideology, religion, nationalism and ethnicity. Constructivists can theorize about cultural identity, social structures, actors and forces together with the material world of power and wealth and are therefore best suited to give an adequate description of religion and political conflict. Despite its great promise constructivism still needs to step up to the board and deliver theories about religion and political conflict. The serious neglect of religion in political studies needs to be addressed and the most likely framework within which to do so seems to be constructivism.