Politics & Political Theory

The makeshift and the contingent: Lefebvre and the production of precarious sacred space

Geographical engagement with religion has grown substantially of late, with many recent studies considering the ‘sacred beyond the officially sacred’. However, many sacred spaces are not used solely for devotion, and there is a need to understand the diversity of sacred spaces, including how they come to be used as such, and the experiences of worshipers using them. Drawing on Lefebvrian notions of diversion and appropriation, I argue that the concepts of contingent and makeshift sacred spaces bring more nuanced and complex understandings of the intertwining of sacrality and profanity in spatial formations. Discussion is grounded in the case study of Muslim worshippers’ sacred spaces in rural western Wales; their relatively small demographic profile means that there is a reliance on short-term arrangements in the absence of long-term, privately owned and controlled sacred spaces. Through precarious access to sacred spaces, local Muslims are reliant on local institutions’ hospitality, and there is little development in the region’s Islamic sacred spaces or claims to space in the region. I conclude by highlighting the significance of the contingent and makeshift to understand sacred spaces, and its place in everyday life.

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Volume 37 Issue 1

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