Political martyrdom is a vivid but extremely little-studied phenomenon.
world political, social and religious culture, which originates in
European New Age and is actively developing to this day. Since the 18th century he appeared in
a huge range of historical contexts: these are the “martyrs of freedom” in the era of the French
revolutions, martyred presidents in the USA, heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin,
martyrdom in the fascist movements of Spain, Romania, Germany of the 20th century, civil
religions of the USSR and China, as well as sacrificial ideologies in the context of decolonization and
postcolonialism. Over time, the number of political cults of martyrs not only
decreased, but also increased: today is a civil holiday called "Day
martyrs” is celebrated in more than 30 countries around the world, and the corresponding ideas
continue to feed many national liberation and separatist
movements around the world - for example, Kurds, Tamils, Welsh, Catalans or
Indian Maoists (Naxalites). Accordingly, questions arise - why all this
numerous nationalisms, established states and activist movements
need martyrs, related practices and ideologies? What is the nature of this new and
of the latest martyrdom - religious, secular or otherwise? Finally, is
veneration of the martyrs as an expression of passion or as a mobilization strategy that has some function in group rallying, struggle and the subsequent founding of the state?
The main hypothesis, which will be proved in the main part of the work, is
that in the XVIII-XX centuries. many nation-states embraced the concept of martyrdom
from religion (especially Christianity) and used it for the purpose of mobilization during
its foundation and for the purpose of legitimation - after the foundation. martyrdom is
foundation of civil religions of a number of modern nations, and they themselves in
ideologically, they stand on the "bones" of all kinds of revolutionaries, freedom fighters
or founding fathers. It seems that the study of this phenomenon can
clarify the essence of nationalism, identify ideological and practical strategies
formation of nation-states, as well as to promote understanding of the logic
decolonization and current activist movements.
The complexity of the subject of study makes it necessary
interdisciplinary, located on the border between political science, religious studies
and cultural history. This allows you to use extensive
theoretical resources, including writings on nationalism, political theory, history
socio-political thought, martyrdom, religion in the modern world, religion and
violence, and also, to some extent, the philosophy of sacrifice or
This scientific report presents the basic concepts, methods and
research concepts: the relational nature of martyrdom as a narrative; him
existence as a reputational project undertaken by specific
interested people; martyrdom as an inversion of the founding murder paradigm
(according to R. Girard); finally, the connection between martyrdom, violence, militancy (which
considered on the example of early Christianity).
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Published on 05/01/23Submitted on 28/12/22
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