On the politicization of religion and history (completed)

It is the global multidisciplinary research project about politicization of religion and politicization of history led by Gorana Ognjenovic, guest researcher at NCHR and research fellow at University of Oslo and Jasna Jozelic, HR Advisor and Dr.philos. candidate at NCHR. Project duration 2012 – 2016.

About the project

The politicization of religion is a constant phenomenon in our daily lives, the only difference being a matter of a degree as to how much and how frequently it is conducted. One particular aspect we shall give much of our attention to in these volumes is the systematic deleting of the distinction between ethnicity and religion. At the same time, we acknowledge that not all politicization of religion is negative.

The project's main aim is to analyse (ab) use/instrumentalization of religion as a political tool, the mechanisms behind the phenomenon as it has been and still is practiced.   

There is a great difference between a war, being categorized as ‘religious’ and religion being politicized for the purpose of achieving a political goal. However it can at times be hard to tell difference between the two. It can be especially hard to do so when the difference between ‘pretend to be’ and ‘is’ is obscured almost to a point beyond recognition. The point beyond recognition in this case is the point when ‘making a choice’ or ‘having many choices’ is just a falsified picture, a one-dimensional image[1] of realy having in fact no choice at all, since the objective choice would include the possibility of not choosing. A strategy which thrives in today’s world of commercial economics where the superficiality of commerce combined with the level of abstraction in theoretical economics moves any mountain as only religion is able to do, due to its belief that divinity turns the world into its own image.[2]

[1] Herbert Marcuse, One-dimensional Man, Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society Routledge; New Ed edition, 2002.

[2] James G. Carrier and Daniel Miller (eds.), Virtualism, a New Olitical Economy, Berg 3PL (1 Nov 1998).


The research project resulted in:

The publication endorsements

"A sobering, enlightening and eye opening account on what has happened and may happen again if we persist in our refusal to see it for what it was. A topical study of a burning issue. A must read". Zygmunt Bauman is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the The Bauman Institute, University of Leeds, author of 'Modernity and Holocaust' Polity and  'Liquid Modernity' Polity

"This unique collection discusses the politicisation of religion after the collapse of a state of diverse ethnicities and religions.  It shows that the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia were not time warped projects of ethnic nation-state building fed by religious symbolism, but rather pointed towards 21st century conflicts where secular space is being challenged and institutionalized religion and religious symbolism feed competing state projects and popular antagonisms. This is, indeed, a timely volume." Tone Bringa, University of Bergen, Author of Being Muslim the Bosnian Way

“In difficult times it is easy to fall back on traditional values, like for example religion or nation, especially if they were repressed. This happened in mid-eighties in former Yugoslavia when politicians revoked national and religious differences using them for political purposes. But they went one step too far. What followed were tragic wars. In spite of that, even twenty years after the war and collapse of the Yugoslav state, religions continue to be politicized. This is why the book that shows how it happened, is so important.” Slavenka Drakulić is a writer and political commentator for Balkan in Eurozine and Guardian, author of  "They Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in the Hague" Abacus –Time Warner, London.

“The topics addressed in this volume on the politicization of religion could not be more urgent, the multi-disciplinary questioning of the politically correct and intellectually lazy label "fundamentalism" not more to the point. The contributions assembled demonstrate how poorly understood the so-called "civil war" in Bosnia-Herzegovina still remains. A long overdue clear-eyed look at a phenomenon that we continue to misconstrue only at our peril.” Arne Johan Vetlesen, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oslo, author of "Evil and Human Agency" (Cambridge U.P.)


Published Apr. 5, 2016 2:46 PM - Last modified Feb. 12, 2018 11:05 AM
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