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Open Access Religion, Martyrdom and Global Uncertainties 1914-2014 – ESRC

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This project combined leadership activities activities across the Global Uncertainties programme with detailed research on theme of martyrdom in Britain and Ireland since 1914. In integrating key insights from other relevant GU projects, it explored various understandings of religion, and weighed their importance against other non-religious factors. Preliminary telephone interviews with researchers generated an initial working paper. Non-academic stakeholder responses were gathered through seminars and a symposium and outcomes presented in a written report and online video resources.

The original research examined the development of the concept of martyrdom and sacrificial death in Britain and Ireland since the outbreak of the First World War. It proceeded through archival, library and web-based research on historic sources supplemented by site visits. There were also a series of semi-structured interviews with political and religious activists, carried out in partnership with the Belfast-based Institute for Conflict Research, in four contrasting locations in Britain and Ireland, Belfast, Bradford, Dublin and London. Key insights from the project include the importance of promoting religious literacy both in policy formation and among wider publics; the need to avoid complacency respecting the long term alienation of particular groups in view of the danger that unforeseen contingencies can provoke open conflict; and the value of taking an historically informed and comparative view of martyrdom as a corrective to contemporary preoccupation with suicide attacks motivated by a distorted version of Islam.
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Keywords: CONFLICT; JOHN WOLFFE; MARTYRDOM; OPEN UNIVERSITY; RELIGION; RELIGIOUS LITERACY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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