Transformation of Urban Spaces and Religious Pluralisation in the South Caucasus

Project coordination: Dr. Tsypylma Darieva

This project intensifies the focus on urban spaces in Eastern Europe and aims to develop a new research perspective at the intersection of urban, diversity and religious studies. Post-socialist cities in the Caucasus are a laboratory of diversity in which visible religiosity and atheistic lifestyles imprint themselves on politics and daily life without triggering conflicting reactions.

The project seeks to define and compare different patterns of religious pluralisation in the South Caucasus. Over the last two decades, new religious movements and practices – such as Protestant and charismatic churches and new »purist« Muslim communities – have been observed in the regional metropolises alongside “traditional” diversity and the established churches. The project investigates the development of new places of worship such as mega-mosques and mega-churches and also explores informal, alternative religious practices and the use of urban spaces. How do local authorities in cities of the South Caucasus regulate emerging religious diversity in spatial and institutional terms? Which urban spaces are accessed and experienced by religious actors as places of conflict, but also as venues for contact and the affirmation of local and transnational identities?