Accepting the Post-Colonial Challenge: Theorizing a Khaldunian Approach to the Marian Apparition at Me-djugorje
Sociology and Anthropology
This article seeks to expand the sociology of religion’s conceptual toolkit beyond the focus on religious belief and on organizational structures inherited from Western Christianity. After criticizing these origins, I use Ibn Khalduˆn’s notion of al ‘assabiyyah or ‘‘group-feeling’’ to analyze the events surrounding the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, Bosnia, in the 1980s and the later events in the same region during the 1990s Bosnian wars. This concept’s strength is its ability to treat religious and ethnic solidarity as part of the same phenomenon—something that previous literature on Medjugorje and the Bosnian war failed to do. Its weakness (for this case) is its focus on centripetal (attractive) solidarity rather than solidarity created by heightened social boundaries. The solidarities at Medjugorje were more often of the latter kind.
Critical Research on Religion
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