This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, namely to explore the politics of the “choreography of sacred spaces” within the framework of state-society relations and to examine the positions, roles, and agency of various actors and institutions in an attempt to differentiate between the political and the religious features of the shared or contested space. It seeks to understand whether sharing and contestation are politically or religiously motivated. The chapter then discusses the three main areas of research that this book explores. It starts with issues of coexistence that are fundamental to understanding the kinds of arrangements that can be found within shared sacred sites and the consequences of those arrangements. It then examines characteristics of shared sacred sites, including narratives, centrality, and indivisibility, to underscore how such features are theorized in the literature. Finally, it discusses the various ways in which state-society relations, state structures, and the impact of state policies contribute to sharing sacred sites.
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