Article

Divergent Modes of Religiosity and Armed Struggle

Harvey Whitehouse and Brian McQuinn

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199759996.013.0039

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Divergent Modes of Religiosity and Armed Struggle

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This chapter investigates one of the most powerful mechanisms by which groups may be formed, inspired, and coordinated—ritual—which may be defined as normative behavior with an irretrievably opaque causal structure. The divergent modes of religiosity (DMR) theory is applied to armed groups engaged in civil conflicts, some of which explicitly incorporate “religious” traditions while others vehemently repudiate supernatural beliefs of any kind. It is argued that the DMR theory can be extended to explain recurrent features of ritual traditions which lack many or all beliefs typically marked “religious.” Unlike many religions, rebel groups tend to display the predictions of only one mode, although this may be an effect of small sample size. It is believed that the DMR theory can possibly clarify broad patterns in intergroup violence and the dynamics of contemporary civil wars.

Keywords: ritual traditions; DMR theory; rebel groups; violence; contemporary civil wars

Article.  9816 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Sociology of Religion ; Comparative Religion

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