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State, space and secularism: towards a critical study of governing religion

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

Type

Article

Change log

Abstract

Over the last decade, cities have become key sites of investigations into the politics of religious diversity. However, the vibrant scholarship on governing urban religion frequently suffers from conceptually thin understandings of the debate's key terms. This contribution critically engages with the conceptual underpinnings of this scholarship by discussing the interdependence of the dimensions of state, space and secularism. Regarding the state, I suggest that we should reconceptualise the state as strategic terrain, effect and social relation; regarding space, I discuss the analytical purchase of the TPSN (Territory, Place, Space, Network) approach, and regarding secularism I argue that we need to investigate local secularisms as problem-spaces and vernacular practices. Focusing on Islam in Western Europe, I demonstrate the analytical benefits of these theoretical reconfigurations by discussing the case study of the failure of one of Germany's most prominent mosque projects, the Munich Forum for Islam (MFI).

Description

Keywords

4406 Human Geography, 44 Human Society

Journal Title

Ethnic and Racial Studies

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0141-9870
1466-4356

Volume Title

44

Publisher

Informa UK Limited