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The Balkans

A Religious Backyard of Europe

edited by: Mient Jan Faber 
published by: A. Longo Editore
pp: 272
ISBN: 88-8063-091-1  
price: € 15.49

Book's frontpage

Although often evoked by international public opinion or policy-makers, the role of religion in the Balkans, particularly related to the recent Yugoslav secession war, has rarely been considered the focus of a systematic analysis. People interested in the topic generally received superficial information, often conditioned by stereotypes, distorted images and biased perceptions.
This book is one of the first attempts to offer to the reader a radically different approach. Prominent scholars from the Balkans, from Western Europe and North America intensely debate the perceptions of history, religion, culture and nation in the Balkans with a wide perspective. Nationalism and religion, the role of the Church communities as well as the general framework offered by the collapse of communism are analyzed here in their influence on everyday life, at school, in the media and in politics.
The chapters of this book represent the final elaboration of the drafts discussed during the two Summer Schools for Interconfessional Dialogue and Understanding (SIDU) held in 1994 and 1995 in the Balkan war zone. Students from all over the Balkans, joined by friends from other parts of Europe, took part in a series of lectures devoted to the role and impact of irrational factors in the most recent war in the Balkans. In particular, the ways and the methods for a new interreligious dialogue were considered in order to create a new atmosphere in the relations among the members of the different religious communities as a contribution and a pre-requisite for a peaceful future in this region, a religious backyard of Europe. The uniqueness of this approach can be read on every page of this book, which nobody with a serious interest in the topic should fail to read.


Table of contents

Introduction, Mient Jan Faber

Foreword, Mihail, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia

Father Stefan Sandžakovski, The ecclesiastic attitude towards ethnic reductionism or whether the Orthodox church is nationalistic?
Father Jovan Takovski, The Orthodox ecclesiastic attitude towards politics and the social dimensions of the church, ethos
Part one -States, nations, minorities
Hàkan Wiberg, Divided nations and divided states
Martyn Rady, International instruments for the protection of minorities
Mark Wheeler, East-European revolutions of 1989-1991
MihajloMinoski, The Balkan policy of the great European powers and the political changes in the region
Robert M. Hayden, The use of national stereotypes in the wars in Yugoslavia
Stefano Bianchini, Between history and politics: minorities, nations and ethnic groups in Eastern Europe
Part two - Religion and state-nationalism
Marija Taševa, Islamisation and its contemporary consequences
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Orthodoxy and a pluralist democracy
Kyrii Haramiev, The legacy of government manipulation of the churches in the post-Communist Balkans: the case of Bulgaria
Peter Palmer, Religions and nationalism in Yugoslavia: a tentative comparison between the Catholic church and the other communities

Part three - Church communities
Marko Orsolič, Seven centuries of Franciscan presence  in Bosnia and Herzegovina
David Steele, Configuration of the small religious communities in former Yugoslavia

Part four - Youth education and women
Alison Closs, Education for tolerance and other aspects of adulthood: could school-age education in ex-Yugoslavia improve its contribution?
Wendy Bracewell, Women in the transition to democracy in South-Eastern Europe
Part five - European perspectives
Mient Jan Faber, Thinking in the Peace Movement between 1800 and 2000
Mary Kaldor, Cosmopolitanism versus nationalism: the new divide?




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