Urban Development and Vernacular Religious Landscapes in Seoul

  • Liora Sarfati


Bringing out the importance of a holistic approach, Sarfati draws on her ethnography to show how the diverse and extensive presence of vernacular religion in Seoul makes even controversial practices, such as spirit mediumship, an inseparable part of the experience provided by the city. Drawing on the ethnography of Seoul’s religious urban landscape collected through participant observation and in-depth discussions and interviews, she explores the relationships between religious belief and spatial considerations influenced by fast urbanization, including hikes in land prices and professional zoning. Sarfati examines the impact of vernacular religion on the urban landscape through three cases of interaction between urban dwellers and religious practices. She looks at divination tents in central downtown spots, at shamanic shrines on hills and mountains around Seoul that become a debated ground when the city extends and encapsulates their sites, and at the representation of vernacular religion in the Korean media.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liora Sarfati
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael

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