Sacred Sites in Contested Regions

Lectures & Publications

Gray Spacing through the Sacred: Charisma and the Consecration of the Urban Landscape in the Israeli Periphery

A paper presented at the RGS-IBG (British Geographers annual conference) 2015

September 1-4, University of Exeter, UK



In recent years there has been a cornucopia of changes and activities in the Israeli urban landscape revolving the emergence, renovation and re-interpretations of urban sacred sites. Drawing on Weber’s conceptualization of Charisma as that which operates from the margins which are less orchestrated and canonized and socio-political boundaries are more open to changes in this paper I explore two sacred sites that have reappeared in recent years and emerged on the urban landscape in the Israeli periphery against initial authorities’ objections. Following recent theoretical of Yiftachel’s gray spacing and Roy’s informality I argue in this paper that religion is becoming a growing factor and a frame of reference for mostly subaltern groups to claim their ‘right to the city’ and influencing the urban milieu. Further, through the case of the Lababidi Mosque in Acre and the Tomb of Rachel in Tiberias I want to suggest that religionization processes from below are becoming paramount and highly influential in shaping the urban landscape and as part of the growing importance of informality in planning contemporary cities and the construction of gray spaces

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