Introduction : Sacred Geographies and Identity Claims: The Revival of Sacred Sites in the Post-Soviet Space
One significant form of the religious revival in the post-Soviet space is the revival of sacred sites, a revival that takes many forms. The forum aims to ask what does this revival mean and how can it be approached? Against the background of attempts at desecration or at ‘muting’ the sacred during the Soviet period, should the revival of sacred sites be understood as a process of de-secularisation and re-enchantment? How is this process connected to identity claims? This forum explores these questions by examining the process of reviving sacred sites in various post-Soviet countries, specifically Russia (the Urals, Dagestan and North Ossetia), Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The contributions to the forum show diverse ways in which processes of reviving or preserving these sites are connected with forms of identification (religious, secular, ethnic, national and transnational), as revealed through the prism of practice, narrative and materiality. The multiple identities that have emerged during the revival of sacred space can blend, coexist or compete.