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Choreographies of Shared Sacred SitesReligion, Politics, and Conflict Resolution$
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Elazar Barkan and Karen Barkey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169943

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169943.001.0001

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At the Boundaries of the Sacred

At the Boundaries of the Sacred

The Reinvention of Everyday Life in Jerusalem’s Al-Wad Street

(p.163) 5 At the Boundaries of the Sacred
Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites

Wendy Pullan

Columbia University Press

In Jerusalem's walled Old City, the Muslim and Jewish site of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is central to both religions, and to the conflict. In addition to religious institutions, the area is filled with residential and commercial structures, places of everyday life; Tariq al-Wad, or al-Wad Street, is an active example. This chapter explores how al-Wad Street has become a new arena of conflict in Jerusalem. It concentrates less upon political policy than upon the cultural construction of the various sites and artifacts in the market street that both emerge from and enable intense levels of popular partisan political participation. It reflects not a polarization of sacred and profane but more nuanced conditions at the boundaries of the sacred, where religious practices and beliefs permeate mundane situations and everyday acts. In contrast to this environment, the chapter also considers a recent attempt to interpret an archaeological site, known as the Western Wall Tunnel, as a holy place. This relatively new creation has been isolated from these quotidian settings and delineated from the world of the street. There we find a contrasting mode of intervention for asserting religious and national claims beneath the major holy places.

Keywords:   Jerusalem, Old City, sacred sites, al-Wad Street, shared sites, political participation, religious practices, beliefs, Western Wall Tunnel

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