Oude en nieuwe rituelen voor Moral Injury


  • Tine Molendijk Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen




‘Moral Injury’ is a relatively new concept, dealing with the wounds resulting from confrontations with morally critical situations. Currently, studies on moral injury predominantly focus on war veterans. However, while systematic research on moral injury is new, the idea that war can be morally compromising is literally as old as sin. Many societies knew institutionalized rituals to cleanse returning warriors from their dirty hands and morally ‘polluted’ souls. In this contribution I discuss the approach of these rituals with respect to ‘moral pollution’ and ‘guilt’, and their two-fold objective of purification and reintegration. Also, I discuss the ways in which Dutch veterans create comparable rituals themselves. The fact that present-day western veterans do so, I argue, shows the lack and importance of a nuanced approach – in words as well as in actions – towards moral injury, both for veterans and for any other person struggling with moral conflict.

Biografie auteur

Tine Molendijk, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Tine Molendijk is cultureel antropoloog en als promovenda verbonden aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Haar interdisciplinaire proefschrift richt zich op de morele, politieke en maatschappelijke dimensies van Moral Injury onder veteranen van Dutchbat (Srebrenica, Bosnië) en TFU (Uruzgan, Afghanistan).





Molendijk, T. (2017). Oude en nieuwe rituelen voor Moral Injury. Religie &Amp; Samenleving, 12(2/3), 221–229. https://doi.org/10.54195/RS.12119
Received 2022-05-19
Published 2017-10-01