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Title: Merging 'different' sacred spaces: Enabling religious encounters through pragmatic utilisation of space?
Authors: Sinha, V. 
Issue Date: Sep-2003
Citation: Sinha, V. (2003-09). Merging 'different' sacred spaces: Enabling religious encounters through pragmatic utilisation of space?. Contributions to Indian Sociology 37 (3) : 459-494. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This article examines the phenomenon of the 'merger' of places of worship on the island nation-state of Singapore, and raises sociological questions regarding the rationale for such sharing of space for emergent styles of religiosity. The ethnographic material comes from two such cases of merger, involving Hindu and Taoist religious traditions in Singapore. These data allow us to abstract broader issues of conceptual relevance to the understanding of religion under conditions of modernity. My argument is that the practical requirement of merger in a shared physical location creates a literal and symbolic space, as well as a context for interaction between individuals, communities and ultimately modes of religiosity. This context is both constraining and liberating at the same time, but I do not see modernity as eroding or diminishing religiosity. Rather, one observes that the formal rational, instrumental logic also facilitates innovations, inventiveness and creativity in the religious domain, producing a vastly altered religious landscape. This challenges and impels us to move beyond a reductionist choice between the secularising or the sacralising effects of modernist forces on religious practice.
Source Title: Contributions to Indian Sociology
ISSN: 00699667
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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