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Title: Ethics and worldview in identity-based conflict in Nigeria : a practical theological perspective on the religious dimension of violence in Plateau State
Author: Campbell, Bruce Kirkwood
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 0279
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2015
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Severe intercommunal violence has repeatedly rocked Plateau State in the first decade of the new millennium, killing thousands of people. Observers have attributed the "crisis" to political, economic and social forces which breed pockets of exclusion and resentment. One notable model explains the violence through a paradigm of privileged "indigenes" who seek to prevent "settlers" from the political rights which would give them the access to the resources managed by the state and the economic opportunities that this entails. While not taking issue with the diagnosed causes of conflict, the Researcher argues that there is a substantial body of evidence being ignored which points to conflict cleavage having opened up along the divide of Christian-Muslim religious identity in a way that the settler-identity model does not sufficiently explain. On the basis that perceptions are as important as facts when it comes to seeking a transformational peace process, he sets out to map world-views, identities and ethics of the warring factions. The researcher, motivated to undertake this research by his direct experience of the 2008 crises and three years experience as an adviser to the EYN's rural development outreach in Adamawa and Borno States, posits that religion may indeed be part of the problem, and mosque and church must be partners to a solution. Forced to limit the scope of his research, he embarks on the initial stages of a practical theological investigation in order to review the conflict from a specifically religious perspective which might assist the Church in its efforts towards peace. Research is focussed on the perceptions of the pew faithful of two denominations in Plateau and Adamawa States and is based on an evaluation of interviews and focus groups which were held across a range of cohorts and settings in order to draw comparative conclusions. Respondents' backgrounds were both rural/urban, young/old, Muslim/Christian, and hailed from various ethnic groups (Berom, Tarok, Kamwe, Fali and HausaFulani). Evaluation methodology drew heavily on Grounded Theory and also included elements of Critical Discourse Analysis. The success of the methodology hinged on the ability of the Researcher to establish rapport and trust with respondents. The applied research methods were foremostly designed to build theory rather than statistically test any hypotheses. The thesis detects evidence not only for the salience of religion as a factor in the way conflict unfolds, but of religion displacing ethnicity as the marker of identity in some locations and age groups. It also demonstrates how ethno-religious narratives stemming from former rural strife between nomadic and sedentary populations and urban conflicts resulting from the competition for indigene rights have been conflated and then further reinforced by the emerging threat of Boko Haram, resulting in a narrative of a unified Muslim programme for conquest, domination and forced conversion. In tune with an undertaking couched in practical theology, this research also identifies a number challenges to the Church's witness and its ability to be a convincing force for reconciliation which arise from this. Eminently, there are signs that ethnocentric mores have been integrated into an emerging Christian identity, which engenders a monolatric perception of God and a penchant to reinforce boundaries rather than remove them. However, Christians also feel restricted by a Christian imperative to forego violence and beleaguered by an Islamic front which they perceive as having moral licence to perpetrate violence in pursuit of dominance. The researcher holds the conviction that it is the Nigerian Church who must embark on a theological process on her own to respond to some of these problems, and concludes with a number of propositions and recommendations to assist her on this voyage.
Supervisor: Clegg, Cecelia ; Thompson, Jack Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Adamawa States ; Borno States ; Berom ; Tarok ; Kamwe ; Fali ; Hausa-Fulani ; COCIN ; critical discourse analysis ; EYN ; grounded theory ; Plateau State ; Nigeria ; world-view