Authored by: Katie Day , Elise M. Edwards

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367367121
eBook ISBN: 9780429351181
Adobe ISBN:


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When considering religion, context matters—and always has. Organized rituals and beliefs reflecting transcendent reality have never been decontextualized in their origins and development. Despite so much research on religion that focuses on individual faith, looking at religion in such individualistic terms has been a relatively recent development. Even studies of trends in the broader patterns of believing and belonging have been blinkered, for the most part, in incorporating the social and spatial contexts into their analyses. Religions develop not in isolated siloes, but in social interactions and in real time and real space. More specifically, the practices and identities of religious faiths have been social phenomena within urban contexts: religion and cities have been inextricably related throughout human history, interactive in their development. Religion and cities have quite literally grown up together. Both are complex social arrangements—dynamic in and of themselves, but even more so when considered in their relationship. Urban contexts include intersecting cultures, economies, political structures, built environments, and histories, and have profound impact on the shape of religions within them. Reciprocally, religions shape cities as well in all the same dimensions.

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