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Religious nationalism: Myanmar and the role of Buddhism in anti-Muslim narratives

Biver, Emilie LU (2014) SIMV07 20141
Graduate School
Department of Political Science
Education
Abstract (Swedish)
In contrast to the Western ideal of secularization, religion has in some cultures maintained its important role in nationalist undertakings. This is the case in Myanmar, a country that is currently in the midst of a state transformation towards democracy after more than fifty years of authoritarian, military rule. This religious nationalism has been taken to a higher level of chauvinism and violence between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority, in particular towards the Rohingya minority form Rakhine state. In order to understand why and how Theravada Buddhism’s ideas, discourses and practices have been interpreted for political and nationalist purposes, this thesis will make use of nationalism theories, in relation to religion,... (More)
In contrast to the Western ideal of secularization, religion has in some cultures maintained its important role in nationalist undertakings. This is the case in Myanmar, a country that is currently in the midst of a state transformation towards democracy after more than fifty years of authoritarian, military rule. This religious nationalism has been taken to a higher level of chauvinism and violence between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority, in particular towards the Rohingya minority form Rakhine state. In order to understand why and how Theravada Buddhism’s ideas, discourses and practices have been interpreted for political and nationalist purposes, this thesis will make use of nationalism theories, in relation to religion, and understand how the merge of those two concepts has lead to the current ethnical clashes. The research aims at assessing the role and power of Buddhism in the context of Burmese nationalism through a narrative analysis of sources such as NGO reports, newspaper articles, academic writings and second-hand interviews. The analysis concludes that it is not so much Buddhism in itself that has lead to the current anti-Muslim narratives and inter-religious clashes, but rather the use of its teachings and symbols, by the monkhood and the state, to gain legitimacy and to justify vehement discourses and actions. (Less)
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author
Biver, Emilie LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV07 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
nationalism, Buddhism, Myanmar, Rohingya, narrative
language
English
id
4778729
date added to LUP
2014-11-12 11:23:02
date last changed
2014-11-12 11:23:02
@misc{4778729,
  abstract     = {In contrast to the Western ideal of secularization, religion has in some cultures maintained its important role in nationalist undertakings. This is the case in Myanmar, a country that is currently in the midst of a state transformation towards democracy after more than fifty years of authoritarian, military rule. This religious nationalism has been taken to a higher level of chauvinism and violence between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority, in particular towards the Rohingya minority form Rakhine state. In order to understand why and how Theravada Buddhism’s ideas, discourses and practices have been interpreted for political and nationalist purposes, this thesis will make use of nationalism theories, in relation to religion, and understand how the merge of those two concepts has lead to the current ethnical clashes. The research aims at assessing the role and power of Buddhism in the context of Burmese nationalism through a narrative analysis of sources such as NGO reports, newspaper articles, academic writings and second-hand interviews. The analysis concludes that it is not so much Buddhism in itself that has lead to the current anti-Muslim narratives and inter-religious clashes, but rather the use of its teachings and symbols, by the monkhood and the state, to gain legitimacy and to justify vehement discourses and actions.},
  author       = {Biver, Emilie},
  keyword      = {nationalism,Buddhism,Myanmar,Rohingya,narrative},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Religious nationalism: Myanmar and the role of Buddhism in anti-Muslim narratives},
  year         = {2014},
}