Performing Religion in the Public SPACE: Visibility, Recognition and the Politics of Religious Diversity

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Mar GRIERA, ISOR, Investigacions en Sociologia de la Religió, Department of Sociology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Spain
Theories of secularization predicted an unpromising future for religion. However, contemporary urban spaces are filled with a growing array of religious expressions that are indicative of the global revitalization of religious identities, and the religious pluralization of modern-day cities. The present paper takes open-air religious minority expressions as objects of study to look at how religious communities exteriorize their activities beyond the private space of their respective centers of worship. More specifically, the paper focuses on analyzing Sikh, Muslim and Buddhist religious events taking place in the Barcelona public space. The aim is to comparatively examine the impression management efforts of religious groups when organizing public events, and their ‘efficacy’ in producing public visibility and in gaining social and political recognition. Theoretically the paper is grounded on Erving Goffman dramaturgical approach (1971) combined with contemporary reflections on visibility, recognition and governmentality (Göle, Dean). The paper shows how minority groups strategically shape their public performances to challenge stigmatization processes, and adapt their public appearances to suit different audiences (global, national, local). The paper also reveals the structural limitations and spatial constraints that minorities face in obtaining public recognition.