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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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The Impact of Conflicts over Holy Sites on City Images and Landscapes

The Impact of Conflicts over Holy Sites on City Images and Landscapes

The Case of Nazareth

(p.270) 8 The Impact of Conflicts over Holy Sites on City Images and Landscapes
Choreographies of Shared Sacred Sites

Rassem Khamaisi

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the city of Nazareth in order to illustrate the theoretical and practical implications of ethnoreligious conflict among Arab Palestinian citizens in Israel that arises out of competing claims over the nature, essence, and representation of a holy place. It argues that conflict over holy sites is a manifestation of stakeholder competition over political power and socioeconomic resources. Multifaceted conflicts between stakeholders impact the ethnoreligious development of the city by overdetermining its character and the way in which it is perceived at local, national, and international levels. The chapter begins by discussing the theoretical role that holy sites play in shaping the sociocultural imagery, political structure, and representational function of cities, followed by a general historical review of the Nazareth region. It then describes how conflict over holy sites contributes to the deterioration of relations between different ethnic and religious minority groups in the city. This is followed by a discussion of the role of outsiders (national and international stakeholders) in aggravating a conflict and the ways in which the locals (domestic stakeholders) benefit from the conflict.

Keywords:   Nazareth, Israel, ethnoreligious conflict, Arab Palestinians, sacred sites, holy sites, political power, stakeholder competition

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