Flows of Faith pp 161-181 | Cite as

Circulating Matters of Belief: Engendering Marian Movements during the Bougainville Crisis

  • Anna-Karina HermkensEmail author


This chapter focuses on the circulation and appropriation of transnational Marian objects and beliefs during the Bougainville conflict (1989-1999). I show how circulation drove the formation of new religious movements, and how ritual elements were appropriated into secessionist protests and practices of resistance, as well as in local peace efforts. By following these paths of circulation, the fluidity of religious beliefs across boundaries of nation state and community come to the fore, providing insight into how the appropriation of religious objects informs both nationalism and communitas.


Bougainville confict religious beliefs new religious movements Marian Movements nationalism and communitas 



The research on which this article is based was made possible by the research program “The Power of Marian Pilgrimage: A Comparative Study” at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the financial support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO VENI grant 275-98-001).


  1. Anderson, B. (2006/1983). Imagined communities. Reflections on the origin and spread of natio­nalism. Revised Edition. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Appadurai, A. (1997). Modernity at large. Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  3. Böge, V., & Sr. Garasu, L. (2004). Papua New Guinea: A success story of post-conflict peace building in Bougainville. In A. Heijmans, N. Simmons, & H. van de Veen (Eds.), Searching for peace in Asia Pacific: An overview of conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities (pp. 564–580). London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. de Busser, C., & Niedzwiedz, A. (2009). Mary in Poland: A Polish master symbol. In A. Hermkens, W. Jansen, & C. Notermans (Eds.), Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world (pp. 87–100). Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  5. Carl, A., & Sr. Garasu, L. (2002). Chronology. In A. Carl & Sr L. Garasu (Eds.), Weaving consensus: The Papua New Guinea-Bougainville peace process (Accord, Vol. 12, pp. 94–102). London: Viking Associates.Google Scholar
  6. Concilium Legionis Mariae. Nd. (2010). Accessed 29 July 2010.
  7. Cunneen, S. (1996). In search of Mary. The woman and the symbol. New York: Ballentine Books.Google Scholar
  8. Denoon, D. (2000). Getting under the skin: The Bougainville copper agreement and the creation of the Panguna mine. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dubisch, J. (2009). Epilogue: The many faces of Mary. In A. Hermkens, W. Jansen, & C. Notermans (Eds.), Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world (pp. 227–238). Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  10. Eliade, M. (1957). The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion (Trans: Willard R. Trask.). New York: Harcourt, Brace.Google Scholar
  11. Grimes, R., Hüsken, U., Simon, U., & Venbrux, E. (Eds.). (2011). Ritual, media, and conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Havini, M. T. (1999). The role of Bougainville women in the war and peace process. In G. Harris, N. Ahai, & R. Spence (Eds.), Building peace in Bougainville (pp. 39–43). Armidale: The Centre for Peace Studies, University of New England.Google Scholar
  13. Hermkens, A. (2007a). Gendered objects. Embodiments of colonial collecting in Dutch New Guinea. Journal of Pacific History, 42(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hermkens, A. (2007b). Religion in war and peace: Unraveling Mary’s intervention in the Bougainville crisis. Culture and Religion, 8(3), 263–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hermkens, A. (2009). Mary’s journeys through the warscape of Bougainville. In A. Hermkens, W. Jansen, & C. Notermans (Eds.), Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world (pp. 87–100). Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  16. Hermkens, A. (2010). The power of Mary in secessionist warfare: Catholicism and political crisis in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In M. ter Borg & J. van Henten (Eds.), Powers. Religion as social and spiritual force (pp. 116–133). New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hermkens, A., Jansen, W., & Notermans, C. (Eds.). (2009a). Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world. Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  18. Hermkens, A., Jansen, W., & Notermans, C. (2009b). Introduction. In A. Hermkens, W. Jansen, & C. Notermans (Eds.), Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world (pp. 1–13). Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  19. Hermkens, A., & Venbrux, E. (2011). Insurgent icons. In R. L. Grimes, U. Hüsken, U. Simon, & E. Venbrux (Eds.), Ritual, media and conflict (pp. 63–92). Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Keane, W. (2006). Anxious transcendence. In F. Cannell (Ed.), The anthropology of Christianity (pp. 308–323). Durham/London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Keane, W. (2007). Christian moderns. Freedom and fetish in the mission encounter. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  22. Laracy, H. (1976). Marists and Melanesians: A history of Catholic missions in the Solomon Islands. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lee, B., & LiPuma, E. (2002). Cultures of circulation: The imaginations of modernity. Public Culture, 14(1), 191–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mitchell, J. P. (2009). Performing statues. In D. Morgan (Ed.), Religion and material culture. The matter of belief (pp. 262–276). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Moran, J., & Connel, D. (Eds.). (1993). The official handbook of the legion of Mary. Dublin: Concilium Legionis Mariae.Google Scholar
  26. Morgan, D. (2005). The sacred gaze: Religious visual culture in theory and practice. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  27. Morgan, D. (2009). Aura and the inversion of Marian pilgrimage: Fatima and her statues. In A. Hermkens, W. Jansen, & C. Notermans (Eds.), Moved by Mary: The power of pilgrimage in the modern world (pp. 49–65). Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  28. Morgan, D. (Ed.). (2010). Religion and material culture. The matter of belief. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Meyer, B. (2006). Religious sensations. Why media, aesthetics and power matter in the study of contemporary religion. Inaugural Lecture, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 6 Oct 2006.Google Scholar
  30. Nash, J. (1981). Sex, money, and the status of women in aboriginal South Bougainville. American Ethnologist, 8(1), 107–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nordstrom, C. (2009). Global fractures. In A. Waterston (Ed.), An anthropology of war: Views from the frontline (pp. 71–86). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  32. NSO (National Statistical Office). (2002). Papua New Guinea Census 2000, North Solomons Provincial Report. Port Moresby: National Statistical Office.Google Scholar
  33. Ogan, E. (1972). Business and cargo: Socio-economic change among the Nasioi of Bougainville (New Guinea Research Bulletin, Vol. 4). Port Moresby/Canberra: The Australian National University.Google Scholar
  34. Ogan, E. (1999). The Bougainville conflict: Perspectives from Nasioi (Society and Governance Discussion paper, Vol. 3). Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  35. Oliver, D. (1991). Black Islanders. A personal perspective of Bougainville 1937–1991. Melbourne, VIC: Hyland House.Google Scholar
  36. Regan, A. J. (1996). The Bougainville conflict: Origins and development, main “actors”, and strategies for its resolution. Port Moresby: Faculty of Law, University of Papua New Guinea.Google Scholar
  37. Saovana-Spriggs, R. (2000). Christianity and women in Bougainville. Development Bulletin, 51, 58–60.Google Scholar
  38. Tanis, J. (2002). Reconciliation: My side of the island. In A. Carl & Sr L. Garasu (Eds.), Weaving consensus: The Papua New Guinea–Bougainville peace process (Accord, Vol. 12, pp. 58–61). London: Viking Associates.Google Scholar
  39. Thomas, N. (1991). Entangled objects. Exchange, material culture and colonialism in the Pacific. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Trompf, G. W. (2004). Melanesian religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. De Vries, H. (2001). In media res: Global religion, public spheres, and the task of contemporary comparative religious studies. In H. de Vries & S. Weber (Eds.), Religions and media (pp. 3–42). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radboud University NijmegenNijmegenNetherlands
  2. 2.the Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations