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Preface Over the past decade, the study of religious violence has evolved into a veritable cottage industry. More than a field of academic research, religious violence is now a topic in which U.S. government agencies, international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and all manner of think tanks and foundations have developed an interest. Understanding religious violence has become not only an intellectual but a political imperative, with analysis geared toward the generation and modification of policies, funding programs, and other forms of intervention. Indonesia exemplifies this trend. On the one hand, a vast and growing literature has emerged under the auspices of such institutions as the Asia Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the United Nations, and the World Bank to address problems of interreligious tension and conflict there. This literature has not only offered analytical frameworks for mapping and gridding observable patterns of local conflict and violence across the Indonesian archipelago but also promoted the implementation of policies and the allocation of resources to ease tensions and resolve conflicts in localities around the country. The establishment of statistical correlations between patterns of conflict and variation in levels of poverty or social capital has come to serve as the basis for decisions to fund programs for the promotion of economic development and to strengthen "civil society" and "governance " in various parts of Indonesia. On the other hand, a similarly sizable body of writings has been produced by think tanks and other policy-oriented research outfits based in various Southeast Asian capitals and in key power centers such as Brussels, Canberra, London, and Washington, D.C., to address Islamist terrorism in IX x Preface Indonesia. These writings have not only identified the groups responsible for terrorist bombings in Indonesia since 2002 but also documented links to Al-Qaeda and traced mobilization, recruitment, and internal transformation over the years. Through these writings, "terrorism experts" have helped government policymakers to prosecute-and, more important, to justify-the War on Terrorism in the region. The study of religious violence in Indonesia, as elsewhere, has become intimately bound up with the exercise of various forms of power. Riots, Pogroms, jihad suggests an alternative approach to the study of religious violence, both in the specific context of Indonesia and more broadly. This approach is rooted in a political, institutional, and intellectual tradition very different from the dominant strands of the "religious violence industry " identified above. Politically, the book takes as its premise a critical distance not only on the U.S.-led War on Terrorism but also on those avowedly secular, ecumenical, or religiously tolerant and disinterested institutions that claim to be promoting conflict resolution and multifaith religious coexistence and understanding. Much as critical scholars have shown how the "Holocaust industry" has worked to shape scholarship on European history and Middle Eastern politics to suit particular interests, so is this book intended to undermine the smug liberal notion of a "view from nowhere" in the study of religious violence in Indonesia and beyond. Against the prevailing tendency to pin the blame for religious violence in Indonesia-and elsewhere-on "intolerant," "extremist" Muslims, if not on "fundamentalist" Islam as a belief system, I have tried to show how both the structures and the agency of forces associated with Christianity, secularism , and ecumenicism have been in considerable measure responsible for the broad pattern of religious violence in Indonesia as well as many of its specific episodes. Riots, Pogroms, Jihad takes a skeptical view of large-scale research projects linked to major funding bodies, government agencies, and other centers of state power. Insofar as this book is part of a broader collective enterprise, it is one staffed by independent scholars with proven commitment to the study of Indonesia (and specific localities therein) and by Indonesian researchers with persistent track records of promoting empowerment , democratization, and social transformation in a country that has long suffered from authoritarian rule and state violence against its citizens. The notes are thus filled with references to the countless anthropologists, human rights activists, and investigative journalists whose work has informed and inspired the writing. This book's intellectual treatment of religious violence in Indonesia is Preface xt rooted in the traditions of Southeast Asian studies scholarship and comparative historical sociology. "Religion" is understood here neither as a matter of individual belief nor as a "cultural system," as Clifford Geertz famously argued; rather it is regarded sociologically, as a field structured by its own institutions, authority relations, instilled dispositions (habitus), means of...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781501729898
Related ISBN
9780801445156
MARC Record
OCLC
1080551535
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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