Handbook of Religion and the Asian City: Aspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century

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ISBN 10: 0520281225 / ISBN 13: 9780520281226
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Synopsis: Handbook of Religion and the Asian City highlights the creative and innovative role of urban aspirations in Asian world cities. It does not assume that religion is of the past and that the urban is secular, but instead points out that urban politics and governance often manifest religious boundaries and sensibilities—in short, that public religion is politics. The essays in this book show how projects of secularism come up against projects and ambitions of a religious nature, a particular form of contestation that takes the city as its public arena.

Questioning the limits of cities like Mumbai, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Bangkok, and Shanghai, the authors assert that Asian cities have to be understood not as global models of futuristic city planning but as larger landscapes of spatial imagination that have specific cultural and political trajectories. Religion plays a central role in the politics of heritage that is emerging from the debris of modernist city planning.

Megacities are arenas for the assertion of national and transnational aspirations as Asia confronts modernity. Cities are also sites of speculation, not only for those who invest in real estate but also for those who look for housing, employment, and salvation. In its potential and actual mobility, the sacred creates social space in which they all can meet. Handbook of Religion and the Asian City makes the comparative case that one cannot study the historical patterns of urbanization in Asia without paying attention to the role of religion in urban aspirations.

From the Inside Flap: Combining theoretical creativity with vivid ethnography, van der Veer’s groundbreaking collection of essays explores the distinctive patterns of enchanted aspiration arising from the Asian metropolises that have become new centers of wealth and power, with consequences for the entire interdependent world.”­ Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego, author of Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan

Handbook of Religion and the Asian City complicates conventional assumptions equating modernity with secularism. Through richly documented case studies grounded in subtle ethnographic and historical analyses of kin-based, local, national, regional, and religious formations of sociality and aspiration, the various authors detail the vicissitudes of religiosity in spaces that in turn call for a rethinking of what we mean by urban life." Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University, author of Evicted from Eternity: The Restructuring of Modern Rome

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Title: Handbook of Religion and the Asian City: ...
Publisher: University of California Press
Binding: Hardcover
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