Public Religion and the Urban Environment
"Nature" and the "city" have most often functionedas opposites within Western culture, a dichotomy that has been reinforced (andsometimes challenged) by religious images. Bohannon argues here that cities andnatural environments, however, are both connected and continually affected byone another. He shows how such connections become overt during naturaldisasters, which disrupt the narratives people use to make sense of the world,including especially religious narratives, and make them more visible. This book offers both a theoretical exploration of theintersection of the city, nature, and religion, as well as a sociologicalanalysis of the 1997 flood in Grand Forks, ND, USA. This case study shows howreligious factors have influenced how the relationship between nature and thecity is perceived, and in particular have helped to justify the urban controlof nature. The narratives found in Grand Forks also reveal a broaderunderstanding of the nature of Western cities, highlighting the potent andethically-rich intersections between religion, cities and nature.
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