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Title: Fractured land, healing nations : a contextual analysis of the role of religious faith sodalities towards peace-building in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Author: Goodwin, Stephen R.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis addresses the role of religion(s) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the wider context of the emergent states of the former Yugoslavia. The thesis argues that although religion has been used to promote nationalist ideologies and the cause of war, it also can be a positive force for building peace. The dissertation further argues that the religious dimension includes the element of myth in the self-understanding of the Serbs, Bošniaks and Croats, and seeks to account for the influence of their myths in creating ethno-religious conflict. The thesis argues that the Western structural and materialist approach to peace-building can be strengthened to address pressing inter-personal needs of society more effectively by engaging the moral and ethical resources that religion has the potential to contribute. The dissertation will offer a critical evaluation of interventionist efforts of the international community towards peace-building, taking account of the evidence that cessation of military hostilities is countered by modest results in restoring civil society. In light of this, the thesis examines the role of religious sodalities as locally-generated initiatives in peace-building that express the hopes of peoples of faith. It is argued that religion in this capacity complements, rather than substitutes, secular initiative. The dissertation therefore makes use of primary research data gathered from among religious leaders, women, and students from the Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant communities as evidence of why and how persons of religious faith contribute to peace-building and social restoration in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Theological reflection on the three elements of (mytho)history, the sacred texts and the context of Bosnia-Herzegovina enables a contextual analysis of peace-building to emerge. The theological concept of ‘restoration’, which is derived from the primary research interviews, is framed with discussion of the creation and the eschaton in the sacred texts – the Bible and Qur’ān – as a comprehensive Leitmotif for peace-building. Social expression of restoration transpires in the religious faith sodalities where authentic spirituality is exercised towards forgiveness and healing, and re-creates wholeness from fragmentation. The thesis demonstrates that in the religious faith sodalities the personal narrative of the individual believer, together with the meta-narratives of Christianity and Islam, effectively counter the ideological narratives of nationalism, and, when extensively shared with others, build peace across national boundaries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available