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Introduction

Religious Plurality, Interreligious Pluralism, and Spatialities of Religious Difference

Jeremy F. Walton and Neena Mahadev

The introduction to this special section foregrounds the key distinction between ‘religious plurality’ and ‘interreligious pluralism’. Building from the example of a recent controversy over an exhibition on shared religious sites in Thessaloniki, Greece, we analyze the ways in which advocates and adversaries of pluralism alternately place minority religions at the center or attempt to relegate them to the margins of visual, spatial, and political fields. To establish the conceptual scaffolding that supports this special section, we engage the complex relations that govern the operations of state and civil society, sacrality and secularity, as well as spectacular acts of disavowal that simultaneously coincide with everyday multiplicities in the shared use of space. We conclude with brief summaries of the four articles that site religious plurality and interreligious pluralism in the diverse contexts of Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the Balkans.

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Introduction

The Borders of Religion

Ruy Llera Blanes, Simon Coleman, and Sondra L. Hausner

This volume of Religion and Society is marked by borders, boundaries, and limits. The borders here are those that make religion operative and politically powerful, as well as those that are enabled and put into place by religious arguments and worldviews. All these dimensions of borders are included in the special section of this volume, coordinated by Valentina Napolitano and Nurit Stadler, entitled “Borderlands and Religion: Materialities, Histories, and the Spatialization of State Sovereignty.” The section includes articles by Alejandro Lugo, Nurit Stadler and Nimrod Luz, Alberto Hernández and Amalia Campos-Delgado, and Alexander D. M. Henley. They dwell upon two of the most notorious and contentious borders in the world: the one that separates Lebanon and Palestine from Israel, and the one that separates the US from Mexico. Both Israel and the US are known for their fenced and walled frontier politics. From these contributions, we learn how borderlands and their religious framing become spaces of political negotiation by affirmation and/or by exclusion: they determine sovereignty, ontology, history.

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Introduction

Doing Ritual While Thinking about It?

Emma Gobin

readings of this text. NOTES 1 While space does not allow for an exhaustive overview, synthetic surveys can be found in Babcock (1987) , Højbjerg (2002b) , Nijhawan (2006) , Rozenberg (2011) , and Stausberg (2006) . 2 This focus on critical reflexivity

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Introduction

Legacies, Trajectories, and Comparison in the Anthropology of Buddhism

Nicolas Sihlé and Patrice Ladwig

. NOTES 1 While space does not permit to provide an overview of the doctrinal, institutional, or other differences between these major groupings ( Gellner 1990: 95–98 ), it should be emphasized that the validity of several of the above designations has

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Introduction

Contested Narratives of Storied Places—the Holy Lands

Jackie Feldman

The articles in this special section on pilgrimage and the Holy Lands provide a wide range of perspectives on the practice, representation, and production of sacred space as expressions of knowledge and power. The experience of space of the pilgrim and the politically committed tourist is characterized by distance, impermanence, desire, contestation, and the entwinement of the material and the spiritual. The wealth of historical Christian and Western narratives/images of the Holy Land, the short duration of pilgrimage, the encounter with otherness, the entextualization of sites, and the semiotic nature of tourism all open a gap between the perceptions of pilgrims and those of 'natives'. Although the intertwining of symbolic condensation, legitimation, and power makes these Holy Land sites extremely volatile, many pilgrimages sidestep confrontation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as inimical to the spirit of pilgrimage. A comparative view of the practices of contemporary Holy Land pilgrims demonstrates how communitas and conflict, openness and isolation are constantly being negotiated.