Symbolic spaces of difference: contesting the Eruv in Barnet, London and Tenafly, New Jersey

Watson, Sophie (2005). Symbolic spaces of difference: contesting the Eruv in Barnet, London and Tenafly, New Jersey. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 23(4) pp. 597–613.

URL: http://www.envplan.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/epd/a...

Abstract

In this paper I explore discourses and resistances mobilized around the construction of an Orthodox Jewish symbolic and material concrete space, the ‘eruv’, in two localities (one in the United Kingdom, one in the USA) where it has been at the center of heated debate and contestation. Conflicts around the reordering and redefining of this public space expose some of the limits of living with difference and normative versions of multiculturalism in the city. Through a detailed examination of two case studies in the United Kingdom and the United States I conclude that the multicultural city necessitates a recognition of symbolic as well as material spaces--and the interconnections between these--and that the notion of public space warrants interrogation as to how it is imagined, read, and experienced in multiple ways.

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