Concluding Chapter: Religious Thinking in the Negotiation and Maintenance of Pluralism in Practice

  • Julia Ipgrave


This chapter builds on analysis of lived examples from across our research sites in Hamburg, Oslo, Stockholm and London to offer a context-, practice- and process-oriented interpretation of religious thinking in interreligious activity. It acknowledges the situatedness of that activity, the powerful personal, social and political drivers to engagement for a wide spectrum of actors, yet recognises the interplay of religious thinking with these influences. Analysis of religious thinking in various interreligious activities has uncovered the strategic use (or withholding), of religious reference in order to foster relations and qualify oneself, or one’s community, as a player in society. What is also evident is a concern to remain true to one’s religion and indeed to respect the religion of the other, amidst the demands made by urban living in a religiously plural and secular western society. Interreligious engagement is less about theological pluralism and more about pluralism as practice. This is a practice that depends on commitment to nurturing relationships with the religious ‘other’ and conviction that they are desirable. Maintaining pluralism as practice means for individuals maintaining both personal religious integrity and interpersonal relations, for communities maintaining both communal religious tradition and social and political relevance.


Religious thinking Pluralism as practice Situatedness Urban living Interreligious relations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Ipgrave
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HumanitiesUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

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