Religious diversity is an ever present, and increasingly visible, reality in cities across the world. It is an issue of immediate concern to city leaders and members of religious communities but do we really know what ordinary members of the public, the people who live in the city, really think about it? Major news items, inter-religious violence and notorious public events often lead to negative views being expressed, especially among those who would not consider themselves to have a religious identity of their own. Martin Stringer explores the highly complex series of discourses around religion and religious diversity that are held by ordinary members of the city; discourses that are often contradictory in themselves and discourses that show that attitudes to religion vary considerably depending on context and wider local or national narratives. Drawing on examples from UK (particularly Birmingham, one of the UK's most diverse cities), Europe and the United States, Stringer offers some practical suggestions for ways in which discourses of religious diversity can be managed in the future. Students in the fields of religious studies, sociology, anthropology and urban studies; practitioners involved in inter-religious debates; and church and other faith leaders and politicians should all find this book an invaluable addition to ongoing debates.
’Martin Stringer has produced a fascinating bottom-up� account of the discourses about religious diversity now flowing through Birmingham’s urban culture. Focusing on four arenas in which religious difference becomes manifest - clothing, buildings, festivals, and current event news items - Stringer charts the different ways in which people confront or ignore diversity, and the ways in which difference is downplayed or attributed to ethnic culture, or religion. The result is an insightful analysis of the ways in which religion, culture, and politics become intertwined and how the latent can be as problematic as the manifest. Through it all there is keen attention to the latest currents in urban social theory, making this a book for students of cities, of religion, of immigration, and of contemporary modern society.’ Rhys H. Williams, Loyola University Chicago, USA '[Stringer’s] new book is not a study of discourses of religions but instead of discourses on religion by ordinary English urbanites. As he puts it, "I want to begin by listening to the people who live within the city and to hear how they are talking about religion, religions, and religious diversity and to identify the kind of assumptions that they are making within their conversations"'. Anthropology Review Database