Exploring the Sacredness of Urban Spaces through Material Traces
Keywords:urban space, the sacred, material traces, London
From ancient times, some spaces have been understood to be more sacred than others. Even though many of these spaces have no specific religious meaning, there have been new religious movements which can easily be seen in daily life. In order to understand the current dynamics of religion, a focus on the material presence of religion (religious buildings, sites and artefacts in urban spaces) is a fruitful starting point. Thus, the objective of this study is to explore the potential meanings of the sacred in urban spaces, and the effects of these meanings or characterizations of the sacred have on places. Moreover, the focus is on analysing new manifestations of the religious and the sacred in urban space, as well as the ways in which material traces mediate diverse practices, discourses and effects in the various domains of the sacred. By investigating the alignments of these two fields, the city and the sacred, this study sheds new light on the metropolis of London, which manifests both religious diversity and multiple modernities via traces of the sacred in urban spaces. The results show that sacred traces in urban places have a prominent image that many residents and visitors fail to appreciate in their daily lives. The study concludes with a discussion of findings and implications.
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