The interplay of dominant and marginalized belief systems in urban place making: material and immaterial dimensions

Victoria Hegner (Göttingen University)
Andrea Vetter (Humboldt University)
Block 1, Piso 1, Room 44
Start time:
19 April, 2011 at 14:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

We invite papers that focus on dominant or marginalized belief systems and discuss the interdependence of religion, urban space and place making. How does the specific urban culture inscribe itself into religious practices and thus into place making? Can we trace general characteristics of urbanism?

Long abstract:

It has long been acknowledged that today’s cities are innovative headquarters for a wide range of belief systems and their practitioners. However, the particular interdependence between religion, urban space, and place making remains under-theorized. The panel – placed within the sub-theme ‘Shaping Lives’ – will bring together studies seeking to fill this theoretical vacuum through ethnographically based research. Focusing on major and marginalized belief systems, the panel aims for a comparative perspective, drawing attention to the interplay between diverse belief systems in appropriating and transforming urban places. The panel welcomes studies that concentrate on practitioners' religious rituals and daily routines. How do the specific urban (material) culture and the urban imaginary inscribe themselves into rituals and other performative acts and thus into place making? What role does the city’s architectural structure play? How does material appearance interact with religious – immaterial – cosmologies? How is it integrated into them? What role does memory of urban pasts play, whether shared or contested? What is the significance of the body as an agent of creation of places (i.e. ritual movements, dress codes, visualizing emotions)? Is it possible to trace general characteristics of urbanism in the construction of (sacred) places in the city? The panel will also promote methodological reflection on ethnographic applications of new concepts of the city (urban imaginary, city as a whole, city’s habitus) and aims to publish successful panel contributions in a volume of our institute’s series.