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Religion and Soft Power. Religious Communities in the South Caucasus as Objects of External Influences

English title Religion and Soft Power. Religious Communities in the South Caucasus as Objects of External Influences
Applicant Jödicke Ansgar
Number 152417
Funding scheme SCOPES
Research institution Religionwissenschaft Universität Freiburg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.04.2014 - 30.04.2017
Approved amount 297'720.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
Religious studies, Theology

Keywords (6)

soft power; religion and politics; NIS (new independent states); South Caucasus; international relations; post soviet space

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Seit der politischen Unabhängigkeit im Jahr 1991 verzeichnen die Religionen in den drei südkaukasischen Republiken Armenien, Aserbaidschan und Georgien einen gesellschaftlichen Aufschwung. Die gestiegene positive Wertung individueller Religiosität einerseits und die Verknüpfung religiöser mit nationaler Identität andererseits stärken die politische Bedeutung der Religionen sowohl innenpolitisch als auch in den aussenpolitischen Beziehungen der drei Länder zu ihren Nachbarstaaten.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele

Ähnlich wie die Schweiz ist der Südkaukasus von politisch und wirtschaftlich mächtigen Nachbarn umgeben. Russland, Iran und die Türkei, aber auch die EU, habe die politische Entwicklung der drei unabhängigen Staaten mitbestimmt. Das Projekt untersucht und vergleicht die politische Bedeutung der Religion in diesen internationalen Beziehungen anhand von neun Fällen, in denen religiöse Gruppierungen im Südkaukasus grenzüberschreitende Beziehungen zu religiösen oder staatlichen Akteuren in einem Nachbarland unterhalten. Insbesondere ist von Interesse, inwieweit religiöse Traditionen und religiöse Akteure dabei als Soft Power (d.h. als staatliche Machtausübung durch kulturelle aber nicht militärische bzw. ökonomische Mittel) verstanden werden können. Das Projekt identifiziert in diesem Sinn Instrumentalisierungen von Religion für (aussen)politische Zwecke, es berücksichtigt jedoch auch die eigenständigen (und möglicherweise ebenfalls internationalen) Interessen religiöser Gruppierungen. Insgesamt ist es das Ziel des Projektes, das grenzüberschreitende Beziehungsgeflecht zwischen politischen und religiösen Akteuren im Südkaukasus besser verstehen zu können. Für die politische Anwendung werden Szenarien entwickelt.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das Projekt leistet einen Beitrag zur wissenschaftlichen Erforschung der Beziehungen zwischen Religion und Politik insbesondere im internationalen Kontext. Es stärkt die universitäre, wissenschaftliche Religionsforschung in den jungen Demokratien im Südkaukasus und fördert deren internationale Vernetzung. Die akademische Vernetzung der beiden sich im Krieg befindenden Staaten Aserbaidschan und Armenien bietet ausserdem Potentielle für friedensbildende Verständigung in der Region.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 05.05.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Religion and Soft Power in the South Caucasus
Jödicke Ansgar (2017), Religion and Soft Power in the South Caucasus, Routledge, 1 [edition]. | New York : Routledge, 2017. | Series: Routledge studies in religion and politics.
Religion and Politics in the South Caucasus
Jödicke Ansgar (2015), Religion and Politics in the South Caucasus, in Caucasus Analytical Digest, 72, 2-2.
(Non) "Russian World", (Non) Soft Power: Putin's Serpentine Spolicy in the South Caucasus
Makarychev Andrey, Yatsyk Kazan (2014), (Non) "Russian World", (Non) Soft Power: Putin's Serpentine Spolicy in the South Caucasus, in Caucasus Analytical Digest, 67-68, 2-6.
Armenia and the Ukrainian Crisis: Finding the Middle Ground
Ter-Matevosyan Vahram (2014), Armenia and the Ukrainian Crisis: Finding the Middle Ground, in Caucasus Analytical Digest, 67-68, 14-17.
The Ukraine Crisis: Repercussions on Georgia
Kakachia Kornely (2014), The Ukraine Crisis: Repercussions on Georgia, in Caucasus Analytical Digest, 67-68, 6-10.
The Ukrainian Crisis and Implications for Azerbaijan
Valiyev Anar (2014), The Ukrainian Crisis and Implications for Azerbaijan, in Caucasus Analytical Digest, 67-68, 11-13.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
American University of Armenia Armenia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy Aserbaijan (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Tbilisi State University Georgia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
University of Tartu Estonia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
First Convention of European Association of Caucasian Studies Talk given at a conference People or Territories: The Geo-/ Biopolitical Dilemmas for Georgia and Ukraine 27.04.2017 Istanbul, Turkey Makarychev Andrey;
South Caucasus Security Forum Talk given at a conference Russia in the South Caucasus: From Soft Power to Communicative and Biopower 20.04.2017 Tbilisi, Georgia Makarychev Andrey;
Eastern Platform-2017 Talk given at a conference participation in round table discussion “European Insecurities: Regional Perspectives on Identities and Conflicts” 07.04.2017 Tartu, Estonia Makarychev Andrey;
Baltic Defence College Conference on “Non-Linear Warfare: the Russian Challenge” Talk given at a conference “Russian world”: external projections 16.02.2017 Tartu, Estonia Makarychev Andrey;
5th Blue Black Sea International Congress Talk given at a conference ‘Russian and Turkic world: Meeting Points in Adjara and Tatarstan 13.12.2016 Istanbul, Turkey Makarychev Andrey;
Middle East Studies Association Talk given at a conference Islam in Azerbaijan: religion in post-Soviet context 20.11.2016 Boston, United States of America Valiyev Anar;
2nd All Azimuth workshop on home-grown theorizing Talk given at a conference Cultural semiotics of Russian foreign policy 24.09.2016 Ankara, Turkey Makarychev Andrey;
XXI IAHR world congress Erfurt Talk given at a conference Beyond the ‘standard model’ in the South Caucasus 28.08.2015 Erfurt, Germany Jödicke Ansgar;
Religions and secularities in the Caucasus: new configurations Talk given at a conference Contemporary changes in Azerbaijan’s state policy toward religion: Iranian and Turkish religious groups 01.06.2015 Tbilisi, Georgia Jödicke Ansgar;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Round Table: Religious Dynamics and Soft Power(s) in post-Soviet regions 25.06.2015 Tartu, Estonia

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Religion and Soft Power in the South Caucasus - Policy Perspective International 2017

Abstract

While it is widely accepted that religion can be a significant factor both in politics and in international rela-tions, the interactions between politics and religion in a transnational dimension are insufficiently studied. The project deals with transnational religious activities and their political significance. The main question is whether and how religion functions as soft power. The project does not assume that religions are com-pletely instrumentalised. In fact, the project will analyse political actors' use of religion for purposes of international relations as well as religious communities' reactions to (and use of) this situation. Geographically, the project focuses on the three South Caucasian states, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia and the external influence of Russia, Turkey, Iran and the EU. The comparison of seven case studies to pertinent examples of political involvement in cross-border religious activities will reveal mechanisms of interactions between politics and religion in transnational contexts. This interdisciplinary project provides basic research on the relationship between religion and politics in the specific case of cross-border activities. This topic is also highly relevant politically. Its practical relevance will be shown in the scenario planning.Besides its academic purpose, the project supports the academic structures in the participating institutions. It establishes academic cooperation on an institutional level and strengthens already existing networks. Especially in the case of two countries at war, Azerbaijan and Armenia, this sort of academic networking provides chances for further contacts and peace-building processes.
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