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Highways for Healing: Contemporaneous ‘Temples’ and Religious Movements in an Indian City

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AbstractGrounded spatially in Bangalore city, India, I analyze “the sacrality of urban sprawl,” that is, how cities and their expanding boundaries are important arenas for the recruitment of devotees, the construction of habitats to house the religious, new spiritual maps, and ideas of selfhood. The strata who inhabit these spaces are largely the old and new middle class. I argue that in addition to consumption patterns and lifestyles, new norms of religious selfhood are also crucial to this class-inflected identity. I analyze the sacrality of urban sprawl through the spatial embedding of contemporaneous religiosity in transport arteries and highways and the role of the body in mediating forms of religiosity and their built structures in these spaces.

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News source: Journal of the American Academy of Religion Current Issue

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