Sharing the <i>Sacra</i>: The Politics and Pragmatics of Intercommunal Relations around Holy Places | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Sharing the <i>Sacra</i>: The Politics and Pragmatics of Intercommunal Relations around Holy Places

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Sharing the Sacra

The Politics and Pragmatics of Intercommunal Relations around Holy Places

Edited by Glenn Bowman

196 pages, 12 figures and tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-486-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-744-2 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (October 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-487-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“An excellent compilation… [whose] strength lies less in overarching conclusions than in its fine-grained historical and ethnographic detail.” · Times Literary Supplement

“Using ethnographic and historical approaches, the chapters in this book show that [contrary to what is often believed] religious spaces are frequently peacefully shared by different religious groups…and reveal how inter-faith and inter-religious discursive formations are believers, state officials, and transnational institutions. Thus the volume provides important theoretical and methodological tools for an anthropology of inter-religious relations.” · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“[This volume’s] broad range of experience is combined with a wide range of religious and territorial contexts – a welcome corrective to the tendency towards focusing on particular religions and regions…Overall, this is an excellent contribution to the growing literature on shared sacred places. It shows what a carefully constructed edited volume can achieve in an academic world where researchers are under increasing pressure to only seek publication in journals with high global exposure. It also engages with a crucial issue in a world where religion has not retreated to the private sphere – the ability of pilgrims and others to co-exist at the same highly charged place.” · Anthropological Notebook

This is an excellent book that adds to the anthropological and historical literature on shared sacred sites. The majority of the articles are very well written, present strong arguments that are revealed with important research. The result is that the book adds to and clarifies some of the debates about the sacred sites, how they are shared as well as the role of the various actors involved in the process. The cases are varied, rich and evocative. Furthermore they are of contemporary importance and relevance.” · Karen Barkey, Columbia University


“Shared” sites, where members of distinct, or factionally opposed, religious communities interact—or fail to interact—is the focus of this volume. Chapters based on fieldwork from such diverse sites as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, and Vietnam demonstrate how sharing and tolerance are both more complex and multifaceted than they are often recognized to be. By including both historical processes (the development of Chinese funerals in late imperial Beijing or the refashioning of memorial commemoration in the wake of the Vietnam war) and particular events (the visit of Pope John Paul II to shared shrines in Sri Lanka or the Al-Qaeda bombing of an ancient Jewish synagogue on the Island of Djerba in Tunisia), the volume demonstrates the importance of understanding the wider contexts within which social interactions take place and shows that tolerance and intercommunalism are simultaneously possible and perpetually under threat.

Glenn Bowman is Director of Research at School of Anthropology and Conservation the University of Kent where he is also Programme Convenor for BA Liberal Arts. He has done extensive field research on Jerusalem pilgrimages as well as on intercommunal shrine practices in the Middle East and the Balkans. In addition to this research on holy places he has worked in Jerusalem and the West Bank on issues of nationalism and resistance for nearly thirty years and has carried out fieldwork in the former Yugoslavia on political mobilization and the politics of contemporary art.

Subject: Anthropology of ReligionAnthropology (General)SociologyHeritage Studies


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