128 research outputs found

    The Zimbabwean state and the case of Robert Mugabe in power:Through the lens of secularism

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    This chapter focuses on religion has obscured the role of secularism, despite Zimbabwe being a secular state, and looks at how secularism has set the terms for the interaction between religion and politics. It focuses on former President Robert Mugabe and his regime, this chapter questions the interaction between religion and politics in Zimbabwe differently. The chapter argues that more than religion, secularism has shaped the field of religion and politics in Zimbabwe, including contributing to the stay of Robert Mugabe in power for thirty-seven years. It demonstrates and challenges this neutrality and objectivity from a historical trajectory, as well as using the contemporary case of Mugabe. The chapter argues that, more than religion, secularism shapes the conditions for religio-political dynamics in Zimbabwe. However, it is taken as given, presumably because the constitution lends it support and thus shields it from critique

    Religious Environmental Sensemaking in Climate-Induced Conflicts

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    This article used the case of the Pokot community in northern Kenya to argue that focusing only on technical approaches in dealing with conflicts induced by climate change neglects the deeper religio-spiritual mechanisms that motivate actors in such conflicts and give the latter their texture. For example, the sacred connection with cattle, forests, and land, or the spiritual blessings of cattle raiders in times of competition over dwindling resources raise questions concerning whether and how indigenous religions’ sacred beliefs and practices contribute to finding peaceful solutions to such conflicts and advancing the discourse of religious peacebuilding. This article deployed the concept of religious environmental sense-making to argue that framing climate-induced conflicts in sacred terms influences how actors position themselves within them, as well as their level of intensity and intractability. Answering this question is crucial to advancing the field of peacebuilding, understanding what propels actors in climate-induced conflicts, and comprehending how policy-makers and mediators in conflicts can develop locally grounded strategies to address such climate issues

    The Importation and Generation of the Religious and the Sacred in Political Song

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    The relevance of studying the “edges” or “adjacencies” of religion is further demonstrated in Chapter 12 by Joram Tarusarisa, who investigates the impact of religious resonances in “Nora”, a Zimbabwean political song. His analysis demonstrates that what is said to be religious and/or sacred is not cast in stone but is the result of practices, discourses and narratives woven around what gets defined as such. He discusses how the song sets apart the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and its former leader Robert Mugabe and turns them into representations of the religious and/or sacred. Tarusarira’s analysis casts light on how the song’s narratives and discourses created a numinous vision and version of Zimbabwe that was to be delivered by the then President Mugabe, who was said to be “anointed” to guide his followers and deliver them from the land of Egypt (coloniality) to the Promised Land (independence and sovereignty). He demonstrates that the song has an explanatory dimension by which it claims to provide answers to questions of ultimate meaning in times of political instability and conflict that characterized Zimbabwe at the time when the song was composed. In doing so, it provides a theodicy, a narrative that answers ultimate questions concerning life and people’s (Zimbabweans’) place in the universe. Tarusarira’s analysis of the song and its performances is thus a concrete example of how the study of “religion” does not involve the study of a “thing” in itself, but an enquiry into how particular actors and institutions weave particular ideas, discourses and narratives, using a particular language which reflects their subjectivities and interests, to create the religious and/or sacred. The author concludes by stating that the proffered definitions of religion tell us more about those offering them than what they claim to be telling us about religion

    Religion and Coloniality in Diplomacy

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    A wide range of contemporary policy issues tied to religion continue to be informed by the legacies of colonialism; among them security and terrorism, the promotion of freedom of religion and belief (FoRB), gender equality, sexuality, and reproductive rights. This essay distinguishes the historical period ofcolonialismfromcoloniality: the ongoing presence of structures and relationships of power created through the practices of colonialism. The author outlines some of these specific influences from the colonial period and he concludes with a series of recommendations that can help policymakers avoid exacerbating the effects of colonialism's legacy in global politics
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