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PhD ceremony Ms. C. Dias: Adaptations to the neoliberal city. A comparative investigation of faith-based organisations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Philadelphia, USA

When:Mo 24-06-2013 at 09:00

PhD ceremony: Ms. C. Dias, 9.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Adaptations to the neoliberal city. A comparative investigation of faith-based organisations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Philadelphia, USA

Promotor(s): prof. I. Hutter

Faculty: Spatial Sciences

This thesis examines the role of faith-based organisations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Philadelphia, USA. It was prompted by debates about the persistence of religion in seemingly secular societies and contexts and related questions about the role and relationship of faith-based organisations to the neighbourhood and non-faith community. Some scholars have suggested that increasingly the rhetorical moves of neoliberalism create specific spaces for faith-based organisations encouraging a kind of marketization in non-economic spheres.

This study suggests that while the neoliberalizing urban carved out a niche for faith-based organisations, declining participation in conventional religious spaces and rites led these organisations to search for new meanings and roles for themselves. The forces that allowed these faith-based organisations a particular and meaningful role in the city were not religion versus secularity, but rather an unexpected interplay of neo-liberalism and secularism that can be seen the ways they attempt to create local and national ties through enhancing resident connections to neighbourhood and community

The process of constant comparison has been central to this study and in doing so, it has enhanced our understanding of faith-based organisations by offering a new comparative perspective that recognises the significance of the interplay between neoliberalism and secularism. In adopting a comparative perspective that specifically juxtaposes a putatively secular nation (the Netherlands) against a putatively religious one (the U.S.A), it has been possible to discern common threads that have encouraged and facilitated these organisations in very different national contexts.

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