Skip to main content

Web Content Display Web Content Display



The acronym RUM is in Polish pronounced as English ROOM

RUM: Religion-Urbanity-Mapping. The acronym of the RUM project reflects the twofold nature of the project:

On the one hand, the acronym RUM, refers to the three areas of our research: religion, urbanity, and mapping.

On the other hand, the homophone [Room] points to the space we are creating to expose the materiality of religion in Polish cities. [Room] refers to multiple rooms we encounter in our map-archive that will be created as a result of the project. By this [Room] stands for the space of experiencing, knowing and living, and the perspective of looking at he same time.

In this interdisciplinary project we aim to examine the relations between religion and urbanity in contemporary Polish cities. By using the spatial approach, various methodologies and data triangulation, we intend to map and explore religious fields and their relatedness within Polish urban sphere. Considering Eisenstadt’s multiple modernities (2002) and different secularization modes (Asad 2003), the main hypothesis of the project is that the relation between the urban and the religious spheres in contemporary Polish cities differs from the models offered by West European approaches. Those based on the epistemology of West European cities do not fully apply to describe the Polish case. Salient topics that arise when depicting postcolonial cities of Western Europe resonate with the Polish context as marginal or as having less impact. Such issues as multiculturalism, diasporas, migration and global cities paradigm considered by many Western scholars as triggers for new religious outbreak in cities play less obvious a role in the dynamization or transformation of religious fields in Poland. This consideration inserts the project within the recent debate on the shape and dynamics of secularization in contemporary urban spheres. With the advent of the post-secular city debate one can look at the relationship between religion and urbanity in terms of entanglement and mutually forming phenomena. Once considering that Polish urban space is an important arena where negotiating and conflicting claims between religious and secular take very tangible shape, examining religious phenomena that are embedded in urbanity may give a more general idea of the embeddedness of religion in Polish public and counter-public sphere (Warner 2005). Taking in consideration the afore-mentioned problematic this project intends to examine the religious fields in Polish cities in relation to urbanity by leaning on a spatial approach and using various methods of research. Triangulating the data will allow to integrate multiple perspectives and narratives on the entanglement of the religion and the urban. In the first stage of research, three chosen cities (Kraków, Gdańsk, Lublin) will be mapped, using geolocation tools (Arc Gis Online and Arc Gis Collector). In this research task geolocating and mapping are designed as heuristic processes. At this point, urban religion is approached through its tangible manifestations and captured in terms of “iconic religion” (Knott, Krech, Meyer 2016). Such an initial framing allows to detect and geolocate various types of religious phenomena in the urban space. This opens up the research field for all phenomena that go beyond official and dominant framings and imaginaries of religion. The initial categories used for mapping will be later on questioned, evaluated and re-elaborated, with purpose of exploring and rethinking the relatedness and ontology of religious fields in Polish urbanity. Mapping and geolocating will also allow to introduce narrative on connectiveness and relativeness of religious phenomena in the urban space, while captured from a bird-eye perspective. The mapping stage of the research will be accompanied by urban ethnography, focused on the spatial dimension of religious presence in the city and intended to approach the city from the perspective of the city dweller (de Certeau 1988; Ingold 2000; Shortell and Brown 2014). The third stage of research will focus on case studies in order to examine three different areas of entanglement of religion with the urban space. These are defined upon the preliminary research findings and represent the spheres where the negotiations between religious and secular are observed as taking a transgressive shape in Polish cities. The thematic areas are: Activism and social movements; Art and creativity; Economy and business. In the final stage of the project the analytical output is intended to be presented in the shape of interactive maps as part of the digital humanities project. Mapped religious fields in several Polish cities will be accompanied by various data in form of ethnographic descriptions, images, videos and audio files. Additionally, these layers will be related and contextualized by several existing data showing demographic, migration, creative industries or economic development of particular cities. Both GIS method and visualization of the data are expected to add new narratological perspectives to classical empirical methods in religious studies.

Web Content Display Web Content Display