Religious Diversity and Spatial Justice
Department of Sociology, University of Montreal
The religion of some has become the public concern of others in many Western contexts. Controversies, legal disputes, regulation, criminalization of certain gestures - the list is starting to be quite long when it comes to the issues that have recently provoked public discussions over the visibility we ought to grant to certain religious signs and gestures. How does this discussion of religion in the public sphere transpire in urban spaces? Which material presence of religion is tolerated, regulated, or forbidden in North America or Europe? In this talk I will discuss the concrete aspects (legal, administrative, esthetic, emotional) of the debates we see now regarding the public presence of religion in urban contexts. I start by focussing on local expressions of these crises that, over the last two decades, have engaged North American and European publics with the question of "what shall we do with the other's religion(s)?" I then link this with an additional question regarding what we might call "spatial justice" in complex contemporary societies.