The Blessed Placemakers

Overview

This doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic and social-geographic examination of peacemaking and peacemaking in the urban delta. It traces the ways in which people dwell within unsettled and liminal places at the edge or margin of change, working to creatively remake their lives and worlds despite persistent conditions of vulnerability and loss. Based on two years of comparative fieldwork in New Orleans, it reveals the challenges, ways of being, and transformations that emerge in the aftermath of disaster, in ...
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Overview

This doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic and social-geographic examination of peacemaking and peacemaking in the urban delta. It traces the ways in which people dwell within unsettled and liminal places at the edge or margin of change, working to creatively remake their lives and worlds despite persistent conditions of vulnerability and loss. Based on two years of comparative fieldwork in New Orleans, it reveals the challenges, ways of being, and transformations that emerge in the aftermath of disaster, in the midst of recovery and redevelopment, and in response to ongoing social problems, particularly the impact of urban violence. While violent crime has long been a problem in New Orleans, it has particular significance in the post-disaster setting. People are asking: How do we stop the violence and reclaim our lives and city? And in particular, what are the values --- moral, ethical, religious and other --- that should carry us forward?

The dissertation follows four local moral and religious communities who address these questions, immersed in active and embodied processes of healing and reform for self, community, city, and society. Case studies include a Catholic "peace prayer" group praying for an end to violence and the moral conversion of non-believers; practitioners of Haitian Vodou conducting "anticrime ceremonies" in targeted city neighborhoods; a Baptist church leading anti-violence and grief recovery ministries; and an Episcopal social justice ministry focused on the restoration of humanity for all victims of violence. Their rich narratives demonstrate that peacemaking and placemaking are driven by the acquisition, application, and promotion of distinct moral and religious bodies of knowledge. Expanding on existing investigations of moral geographies and forms of indigenous 'wisdom,' therefore, the research finds that it is through these site-specific forms of urban 'wisdom' that residents work to reconcile the past while refashioning the present and future. Local moralities extend through larger religious and other sheltering institutions to support the growth and promotion of moral and religious frameworks to guide urban redevelopment and reform. The efforts of these groups, including the obstacles they face, reveal the complexity of moral and religious civic engagement, in vulnerable urban settings.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781244678712
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/30/2011
  • Pages: 406
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.83 (d)

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