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Public religion and urban space in Europe

By Martijn Oosterbaan


Conflicts related to demographic and cultural change in Europe regularly find their expression in struggles over the presence and visibility of religious buildings and groups. As this editorial argues, these conflicts can best be understood from a postsecular perspective that takes into account overlapping and diverging histories of state-formation and secularization. The papers collected for this special issue on public religion and urban space demonstrate that many of the difficulties that European societies face in accommodating religious diversity stem from historically formed relationships between national political identities and religious identities. In many European cases, secularization did not entail a fundamental separation between religion and politics but the formal establishment of one single national church or two competing ones, but territorially based national churches. One of the consequences of these types of establishments is that certain religious traditions are generally described and experienced as fitting with the nation and others are not. The contributors to this special issue show in detail that the struggles of contemporary religious movements in Europe to become present in the public domain are related to commonly accepted understandings of where and how religion should manifest itself in the urban environment, based on the public life of religious traditions that are considered part of the nation

Topics: religion, public space, Europe, migration, postsecular, SACRED SPACE, GEOGRAPHIES, POLITICS, CITIZENSHIP, MODERNITY, DIASPORA, AFRICA
Year: 2014
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