In mega-cities of the Global South, state agencies often lack the capacity to provide infrastructure and security to all citizens. In such contexts, religious organizations and non-state security actors (vigilantes) have merged into alternative governance organizations.
The emergence of religious vigilantes suggests a different connection between religion and violence than emphasized in current research on religious fundamentalism and terrorism. While religious vigilantes use violence systematically, they generally do not aim to overthrow the state, nor do they seek a global audience to witness their violence. They operate side-by-side with state actors to maintain order.
Major questions are: why do mega-city residents grant these religious vigilantes authority? And what is the role of religion in the legitimation of vigilante practices?
SACRASEC will analyze the production of authority of religious vigilantes in mega-cities of the Global South through an ethnographic comparison of three mega-cities. The case studies focus on Christian and Afro-Brazilian religion in Rio de Janeiro; Christian, Islamic and Indigenous religion in Lagos; and Islamic and Indigenous religion in Jakarta. This comparative focus makes it possible to draw general conclusions about the role of religion in alternative governance, while also enabling an analysis of the particularities of each religious tradition in the context of vigilantism.
This research extends the boundaries of the anthropology of religion and political anthropology. It will provide critically needed knowledge on the power structures in mega-cities of the Global South, and in so doing will contribute important insights to policies aimed at improving human security.
Field of science
- /humanities/philosophy, ethics and religion/religion
- /social sciences/sociology/anthropology
- /social sciences/sociology/governance
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call