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Mosques as Everyday Geopolitical Spaces

Authors: Devran Ă–cal*, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Topics: Political Geography, Religion
Keywords: Mosque, geopolitics, everyday, Turkish, diaspora
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Mosques in Europe have always been geopolitical spaces. While the number mosques have begun to increase dramatically in Europe as a result of massive migrations of guest-workers from Muslim-majority countries, and from the old colonial regions during the 1950s and 1960s, mosques were already constructed as geopolitical spaces through bilateral state agreements for both developing inter-state relations and for organizing and monitoring these new settlers of Europe. In recent years, due to the conflicting interests of host and sending countries as well as the intra-community disputes of various migrant-origin ethno-religious groups, mosques have turned into hot everyday geopolitical spaces in which struggles over territory and national representation are carried out. Mosques have been studied extensively within geography with a focus on urban space politics and conflict. In this paper, putting the recent inter-state crisis between Turkey and Germany at the center, I interpret Turkish mosques in Germany as everyday geopolitical zones. Therefore, my analysis of everyday geopolitics extends the area of mosque politics from an urban space politics to a transnational political terrain to see how mosques become geopolitical sites and how everyday relations and reactions of ordinary people geo-politicize. In this approach, I draw on the studies of feminist geographers who have provided a renewed perspective to classical geopolitics discussions by revealing how the geopolitical relations, struggles, and interactions also operate in everyday spaces, relations, interactions and bodies of ordinary people.

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