Sacred Worlds: An Introduction to Geography and Religion

By Chris C. Park | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

This book represents an exploration of some of the more important threads within the subject of geography religion, and I am as conscious of what it does not include as I am satisfied with what it does. It makes sense to offer a brief retrospective on why the book was written at all, and why it was written in this particular way!

I set out to provide a broad review of the work which geographers have done to date in this embryonic field, rather than to create an agenda for the future, and so the choice of what to include has been dictated largely by what published work is available. After an exhaustive search through the literature, and adopting a fairly liberal definition of ‘religion’ so as to reduce the risk of overlooking potentially interesting work, it was clear that the bulk of available studies are essentially empirical rather than theoretical. Inevitably, therefore, the structure of the book had to reflect this provenance of the material. Much of the published work was in the form of case studies, and in an attempt to paint as broad a canvas as possible I have erred on the side of inclusiveness and built as many as I could into the text. Readers will doubtless think that some case studies have been overplayed and some underplayed, and they will also be aware of others that I have not included. My apologies to any who feel that I have done particular themes a disservice in my treatment, and I encourage them to write to me and help me to get a better balance in future editions.

The main limitation of my chosen approach—reviewing what has been done rather than trying to sketch out a landscape from scratch—is the lack of an underlying theoretical framework. Each major theme covered in the book has a theoretical context, and I have tried to point this out (implicitly or explicitly) wherever relevant. To have adopted a particular theoretical framework and structured the body of the book around it might well have constrained the breadth of material which could be included, and would certainly have reduced the utility of the book as an introductory text.

In final analysis, I hope that what emerges from the reviews of major themes in successive chapters is an impression that the field of geography and religion is a legitimate one for geographers to work within, which now has a strong

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Sacred Worlds: An Introduction to Geography and Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • 1 - Geography and Religion 1
  • 2 - Reflections on Religion 31
  • 3 - Distributions 56
  • 4 - Diffusion 93
  • 5 - Dynamics 128
  • 6 - Religion and Population 169
  • 7 - Religion and Landscape 197
  • 8 - Sacred Places and Pilgrimage 245
  • Epilogue 286
  • Bibliography 288
  • Index 313
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