Everyday Religion and the Complexity of Islamic Space
Keywords:Everyday religion, Shia Islam, materiality, pilgrimage, citizenship
The turn to ‘everyday religion’ has disrupted the so-called ‘Muslim problem’, suggesting modes of multiculturalism located not in abstract principles of citizenship but grounded in the concrete practices of local communities. In this article, however, I offer two critiques of the literature on everyday religion in Australia. First, the literature has limited itself to discursive methodologies, largely ignoring material aspects of the everyday. Second, I show how studies of everyday religion assume multiculturalism’s location in a given public space. Drawing on ethnography from the Shia Muslim community of Sydney, I show how Shia practices of visual pilgrimage leverage an understanding of complex space that transforms everyday experience. I argue that allowing for diversity requires not merely an attentiveness to different discourses in the public sphere; it requires an allowance for difference at a deeper level, where everyday religion can generate complex alternative experiences of space itself.
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