Contested Holy Cities : The Urban Dimension of Religious Conflicts book cover
1st Edition

Contested Holy Cities
The Urban Dimension of Religious Conflicts

Edited By

Michael Dumper

ISBN 9780367027353
Published June 3, 2019 by Routledge
236 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Examining contestation and conflict management within holy cities, this book provides both an overview and a range of options available to those concerned with this increasingly urgent phenomenon.

In cities in India, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, we can see examples where religion plays a dominant role in urban development and thus provides a platform for conflict. Powerful religious hierarchies, the generation of often unregulated revenues from donations and endowments, the presence of holy sites and the enactment of ritualistic activities in public spaces combine to create forms of conflicts which are, arguably, more intense and more intractable than other forms of conflicts in cities. The book develops a working definition of the urban dimension of religious conflicts so that the kinds of conflicts exhibited can be contextualised and studied in a more targeted manner. It draws together a series of case studies focusing on specific cities, the kinds of religious conflicts occurring in them and the international structures and mechanisms that have emerged to address such conflicts.

Combining expertise from both academics and practitioners in the policy and military world, this interdisciplinary collection will be of particular relevance to scholars and students researching politics and religion, regional studies, geography and urban studies. It should also prove useful to policymakers in the military and other international organisations.

Table of Contents

Part I Overview: Urban Dimensions of Religious Conflict Introduction: The Urban Dimension of Religious Conflicts Chapter 1: Contextualising Urban Religious Conflicts - How Do Cities Shape Conflicts? Chapter 2: Crisis in Galasi - Simulating the Urban Dimensions of Religious Conflict Part II Genealogies of Urban Conflict Chapter 3: Vishweshwur Temple and Gyan Vapi Mosque: Entangled Histories in Banaras Chapter 4: Managing Conflict amidst Development and Developmentalism - George Town, Penang Chapter 5: Jerusalem’s Ramadan Fridays: Pilgrimage through the Bottlenecks of Occupation Chapter 6: Hebron - Holy and Divided Part III Conflict Management and Resolution Chapter 7: Protecting Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict - the Work of the Blue Shield Chapter 8: Swimming in Dark Waters - Recent Conservation in Afghanistan Chapter 9: The Protection of Cultural Heritage: The Experience of the Italian Carabinieri Command Chapter 10: The Protection of Religious Sites in the Western Balkans – Some Lessons from Recent History.

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Michael Dumper is Professor in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter. His research is primarily on the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially future options for Palestinian refugees and the city of Jerusalem, and the politics of archaeology and conservation in the urban Middle East. In addition to most recent book, Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, History and the Future of the Holy City (2014) he is author of The Future of the Palestinian Refugees: Towards Equity and Peace (2007); The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem and the Middle East Conflict, 1967-2000, (2001); The Politics of Jerusalem Since 1967 (1997); editor of Palestinian Refugee Repatriation: Global Perspectives (Routledge, 2006). He is currently holder of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2015-2018) comparing religious conflicts in cities and preparing another manuscript for publication  in 2019.


"A fascinating worldwide comparative study by first class scholars. Their rich and in-depth analysis produces a must read book for anyone interested in contemporary national-religious conflicts." – Professor Menachem Klein, Bar Ilan University Israel.

"A timely exploration of the critical intersection of religion, conflict and cities. This book brings to bear comparative and inter-disciplinary perspectives on the complex ways in which religious practices and urban forms fuel collective violence. Perhaps more importantly, it also opens up a policy debate about how such religion-infused conflicts might be moderated, managed or possibly even resolved." – Liam O’Dowd, Queens University Belfast.

"This valuable collection of wide-ranging, original, interdisciplinary research illuminates the complexity and urgency of better understanding religious flash points involving time, place, and people. This book reveals the ‘uneasy equilibria’ existing in cities at the interface of politics, religion, and urban form, and the diverse stakeholders who play roles in either disrupting or managing urban-religious co-existence. Policy practitioners at all levels, and academics, will benefit from a close read." – Scott A. Bollens, University of California, Irvine, USA.

"An impressive and timely volume exploring the urban dimension of religious conflicts through empirically rich global case studies. This book uniquely blends the insights and experience of scholars and practitioners, offering novel analysis and pragmatic solutions, for increasing complex religious confrontations." – Craig Larkin, King's College London, UK.