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Lindgren, Tomas
Graduate Program of Pontianak Institute of Islamic Studies

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The Psychological Study of Religious Violence: A Theoretical and Methodological Discussion Lindgren, Tomas
Al-Albab Vol 5, No 2 (2016)
Publisher : Graduate Program of Pontianak Institute of Islamic Studies

Show Abstract | Download Original | Original Source | Check in Google Scholar | Full PDF (127.868 KB) | DOI: 10.24260/alalbab.v5i2.471


The aim of this article is to discuss the use and usefulness of psychological theory and psychological methods in the study of religious violence. My analysis of previous research revealed an imbalance between data, method and theory. There are few psychological studies on religious terrorism based on first-hand empirical data. The analysis also showed that psychological explanations of religious terrorism are, in general, not sensitive to cultural factors. Religious terrorism is a culturally constituted phenomenon. It is therefore important that research on religious violence is based on theoretical and empirical approaches sensitive to the cultural construction of violence. This means that psychologists of religion must be willing to use novel and creative methods sensitive to the unique cultural context where the violent behaviour is acted out and interpreted by the actors of the violent drama, for example, discourse analysis or narrative research. In the self-corrective and growth-inducing feedback process between these methods and primary data it would be possible to develop valid psychological explanations of religious violence.
Religious Conflicts: Opportunity Structures, Group Dynamics, and Framing Lindgren, Tomas
Al-Albab Vol 7, No 1 (2018)
Publisher : Graduate Program of Pontianak Institute of Islamic Studies

Show Abstract | Download Original | Original Source | Check in Google Scholar | Full PDF (150.236 KB) | DOI: 10.24260/alalbab.v7i1.961


Explanations of violent religious conflicts usually focus on preconditions, facilitator causes or precipitating events at micro, meso or macro levels of analysis. As social psychology is the scientific study of the ways in which thoughts, feelings, perceptions, motives, and behaviors are influenced by interactions and transactions between groups and individuals, it can increase our understanding of the dynamics of religious conflicts at micro and meso levels. In this paper, I illustrate this point with a discussion of the utility of social movement theory for understanding the dynamics of religious conflicts. Social movement theory locates religious conflicts within broader contexts and complex processes by focusing on the interplay between micro and meso factors and the ways in which people perceive macro factors. Given certain conditions, religion can and often do contribute to collective violence. Religion is rarely, if ever, the main cause of intergroup conflicts, but is often used as an instrument for the mobilization of human and non-human resources. Appeal to religion may help conflicting parties overcome the collective action problem associated with intergroup conflicts. This does not necessarily mean that religious conflicts have unique characteristics or a logic of their own that sets them apart from other types of intergroup conflicts.