Framing, Negotiating and Living an Interreligious Order

  • Julia Ipgrave


This chapter notes that change is the urban context and that ‘interreligious’ is both experience of change and response to it. It considers the power dynamics involved in the promulgation of an ‘interreligious’ vision. Behind official attention given to interreligious relations lies a ‘choice of conflict’ that turns on the distinction between ‘good religion’ and ‘bad religion’. ‘Good religion’ is viewed as dialogical and open to ‘the other’; ‘bad religion’ as separatist and closed. This framing brings religion back into the public sphere. Political discourse and public policy define and regulate interreligious order and promote universals adopted by interreligious actors. Participants in our study were nevertheless able to exercise agency within an interreligious scene that gave many new social status and opportunities as people of religion. They used the interreligious narrative to negotiate their position in society and to resist it where it clashed with other powerful narratives in their lives. The multiple social scales at which interreligious activities operate allowed some tension between official interpretation and lived experience of ‘interreligious’. The significance given in our data to religion at the personal, biographical level meant there was flexibility for the individual within the social space of interreligious relations.


Change Interreligious narrative ‘choice of conflict’ Power dynamics Social agency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Ipgrave
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

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