Netpeace : the multifaith movement and common security

2017-01-13T01:28:51Z (GMT) by Halafoff, Anna
This thesis examines how multifaith initiatives have been implemented as cosmopolitan strategies to counter global risks—such as terrorism and climate change—and advance common security in ultramodern Western societies. This study is among the first to employ Ulrich Beck’s (2006:91-94) model of ‘methodological cosmopolitanism’. Consequently, it incorporates a local–global focus, examining the rise of the multifaith movement in Victoria, Australia within a broader ‘global’ framework of Australia, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA). Despite the rise of the multifaith movement and of multi-actor peacebuilding networks at the turn of the 21st century, they have received scant attention in the sociological literature. I aim to address this omission by examining the ultramodern rise of multifaith engagement from the perspective of social movement theory and cosmopolitan theory. I argue that the rise of the multifaith movement in ultramodernity, alongside other social movements of this period, provides a missing narrative within the sociological literature, which is comprised of cosmopolitan peacebuilding religious responses aimed at collaboratively countering global risks. In addition, by documenting these peacebuilding aspects of the ultramodern resurgence of religion, I contribute new evidence to further challenge the secularisation thesis. By drawing on 54 interviews with expert professionals in the field of multifaith relations gathered for this research project and by comparing previously published material with this new data, I identify four principle aims and six characteristics of the multifaith movement, examine the benefits and challenges of multifaith engagement and explain the role of multifaith initiatives in countering processes of radicalisation. Finally, by building upon cosmopolitan theories, I propose a new theoretical framework that I term netpeace. Netpeace recognises the interconnectedness of global problems and solutions and the capacity of multi-actor peacebuilding networks—in which religious actors engage both critically and collaboratively with state actors—to overcome the most pressing risks of our times. This study can thereby assist in building new models of activism and governance, as outmoded, oppositional frameworks of modernity are being replaced by new ultramodern, cosmopolitan possibilities, founded on a politics of understanding modelled by the multifaith movement.