Around 1800 roughly three per cent of the human population lived in urban areas; by 2030 this number is expected to have gone up to some seventy per cent. This poses problems for traditional religions that are all rooted in rural, small-scale societies. The authors in this volume question what the possible appeal of these old religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam could be in the new urban environment and, conversely, what impact global urbanization will have on learning and on the performance and nature of ritual. Anthropologists, historians and political scientists have come together in this volume to analyse attempts made by churches and informal groups to adapt to these changes and, at the same time, to explore new ways to study religions in a largely urbanized environment.
Rik Pinxten is Professor and Senior Researcher in Anthropology and Head of Department of Comparative Sciences of Culture at Ghent University, Belgium. His current research focus is on identity as a central mechanism in cultural and religious learning processes. He has published widely on the anthropology of knowledge and the comparative study of religion. Lisa Dikomitis is Research Assistant at the Department of Comparative Sciences of Culture at Ghent University, Belgium. She is preparing a PhD dissertation on Cyprus, based on ethnographic fieldwork with refugees in the north and south of the island. Her main interests are refugees, notions of place, borders, and perceptions of home.
List of Figures Introduction: When God Comes to Town Rik Pinxten and Lisa Dikomitis PART I: NATION VERSUS STATE Chapter 1. Religion and Nationality: The Tangled Greek Case Renee Hirschon Chapter 2. A Church Lost in the Maze of a City without References Bruno Drweski PART II: URBAN TRANSFORMATIONS Chapter 3.The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Urbanism Simon Coleman Chapter 4. The Ecology and Economy of Urban Religious Space: A Socio-Historical Account of Quakers in Town Peter Collins PART III: URBAN MIGRATION Chapter 5. Rural Immigrants and Official Religion in an Urban Religious Festival in Greece Giorgos Vozikas Chapter 6. From the City to the Village and Back: Greek Cypriot Refugees Engaging in 'Pilgrimages' across the Border Lisa Dikomitis PART IV: IMPACT OF MODERNITY Chapter 7. Reading the City Religious: Urban Transformations and Social Reconstruction in Recife, Brazil Marjo de Theije Chapter 8. Modernity Contra Tradition? Taijiquan's Struggle for Survival: A Chinese Case Study Dan Vercammen Notes on Contributors Index