In contemporary Southeast Asia, the focus on religion has been on its role in interstate conflicts across the region in countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. At first glance, these conflicts appear religious because of the use of religious symbols and narratives to describe them by popular media, in academia, and among conflict actors themselves. However, to conclude that they are intuitively religious in nature by virtue of their religious manifestation is erroneous. Religion is, and has for a long time, been a salient marker of personal and collective identity for many Southeast Asian societies, while its manifestation in SEA is often quite distinct from the way it is typically conceptualised under a Western lens. In this sense, religious narratives, when employed in conflicts, speak to broader concerns relating to questions of identity, nationhood, legitimacy and belonging, and not so much on religious issues such as confessional beliefs or doctrines. This paper explores the nexus between religion and nationalism and how this is crucial in understanding the role of religion in interstate conflicts in Southeast Asia today.
Interreligious Relations / Religion in Contemporary Society / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 25/06/2019