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Sacred Places in Modern Western Culture

Editors:  Post P., Molendijk A.L., Kroesen J.E.A.

Year: 2011
ISBN: 978-90-429-2498-7
Pages: VIII-354 p.
Price: 55 EURO

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Sacred spaces in contemporary Western culture are subject to a dynamics in which the traditional forms of ritual are increasingly marginalised and new forms emerge. In Western Europe churches are growing empty, whereas new rituals – for instance those surrounding the victims of violence – are gaining prominence and are mediatized in a variety of ways. The destruction of churches, the rise of increasingly multi-religious urban ritual spaces, the remarkable vitality of places of pilgrimage and war cemeteries and the growing popularity of lieux de mémoire in general show the changing landscapes of ritual spaces in modern Western culture.

This book aims at describing and analyzing the profound changes and developments that are presently taking place. In the main part of this volume the broad field of ritual spaces is explored in contributions on various modern ‘sacred places’. The case studies range from traditional places of religious worship, to the Rothko Chapel in Houston, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Berlin Holocaust Memorial; from the Tor Tre Teste Millenium Church in Rome to the Columbine School Shooting Memorial in Colorado, the memorials for Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh and virtual ritual sites. The dynamics of ritual space is further explored in various in-depth essays on the dynamics of space and ritual, musealisation and memorial culture.

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