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Inga Gudar Jämte Mig: Modern islamisk ikonoklasm och dess teoretiska grunder
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, History of Religions.
2016 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In march 2001 and fourteen years later in march 2015, destructive acts were carried out against some of our most revered and treasured religious sites. These cultural heritages were demolished in modern iconoclastic acts by extremist groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. This essay examines the demolition of the two statues depicting the Buddha as well as the events in Iraq during 2015. Specifically the destruction of the museum of Mosul, the ancient city of Nimrud as well as other sites of cultural heritages. The acts were carried out by two groups who in very different ways revere their actions as connected to the sacred. On the one hand this was done to communicate devotion towards the divine. The other action was done in order to destroy the sacred of the perceived enemy as well as to enhance the iconoclastic groups' own theocracy. The two groups have a sense of historical connection with similar acts of iconoclastic destructions. Historical events will be discussed in relation to their modern counterparts.                      

This essay attempts to locate the theoretical core of these events and tries to explain why they might be regarded as emanating from the theocratic functional systems' need to restore and reproduce itself. I will also, like the responsible groups themselves, set the actions in relation to the relevant international context as well as the historical parallels of iconoclasm. The tendencies to regard these matters as a destructive act based upon absolute reverence to the divine are the most frequent reactions usually brought to the surface regarding these actions. This essay describes the relevant context regarding the destruction of these religious monuments and determines what type of binary codes these actions revolves around. I also add a possible environment of the recipient, which can either be profane or transcendent. The conclusion is that the events in Bamiyan, March 2001, are best viewed as instrumental orientations of actions where the greater goal is the purpose of the act. The environment which the actors attempts to communicate with is the international community and therefore the profane. The events in Mosul/Nimrud on the other hand might more accurately be described as expressive actions where the purpose of the actions are fulfilled by the act itself. The environment which the act attempts to communicate with is in this case a divine entity and therefore the sacred

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Islamic Iconoclasm, Lhumann's System Theory, Instrumental behaviour, Expressive behaviour, Bamiyan, Mosul, Nimrud
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-295393OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-295393DiVA: diva2:933560
Subject / course
History of Religion and Social Sciences of Religion
Educational program
Bachelor Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
2016-06-01, 2-k1023, Thunbergsvägen 3H, 751 20, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-06-15 Created: 2016-06-06 Last updated: 2016-06-15Bibliographically approved

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