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The tactics of (in)visibility of religious communities in contemporary Europe

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

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Abstract

Situated within the broader issue of why religion is now so publicly visible within secular societies in recent decades is a more specific one about the motivations and tactics of religious communities and groups in becoming more or less open to wider scrutiny. The drivers that lead them to assert their presence in the built environment and in open public spaces are intrinsic as well as extrinsic. Religious actors have a degree of agency within the process, with their own theological, social and cultural logic and reasons for adopting particular tactics, however constrained they may be by external strategies of citizenship and diversity management. Why do they invite strangers in, publicise themselves, or engage actively with others in civil society? And why do some pursue such tactics whilst others prefer to avoid the public gaze, and to operate beneath the radar? I draw on examples from recent research projects in global cities to examine these questions.