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Faith and place: constructing Muslim identity in a secular Lutheran society
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Political Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
University of Örebro, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Cultural Geographies, ISSN 1474-4740, E-ISSN 1477-0881, Vol. 20, no 3, 319-337 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Non-Christian immigrants coming to Sweden encounter a mainly secular society with a strong Lutheran heritage, as physically symbolized by the more than 3500 church towers scattered throughout the country, often in central locations in cities and villages. In this landscape dotted with Christian landmarks, there are few visible physical spaces linked to the identity of Muslim immigrants. The aim of this article is to analyse the religious and cultural significance that Muslim immigrants attach to the presence or absence of mosques in their neighbourhood. Drawing upon a conceptual framework that distinguishes between physical, mental and social space, the analysis focuses on the meaning of place and the identity attached to the mosques. The empirical basis for the study includes interviews with imams complemented by articles and other written materials published in newspapers and on the internet. In the concluding section, we return to and reflect upon our overarching question: the relationship between faith and place in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society. As illustrated in the article, mosques not only function as internal markers of religious faith but also serve as arenas where links can be developed to Christian and secular parts of Swedish society. Thus, they are important in providing both bonding and bridging capital, thus making it possible to develop a Muslim identity in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE Publications (UK and US) , 2013. Vol. 20, no 3, 319-337 p.
Keyword [en]
faith and place, Islam in Sweden, mosque, Muslim identity, religion and geography
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95819DOI: 10.1177/1474474012464024ISI: 000320500300004OAI: diva2:638130
Available from: 2013-07-26 Created: 2013-07-26 Last updated: 2013-08-22

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