‘You can’t just be a Muslim in outer space’: young people making sense of religion at local places in the city

Laura Kapinga*, Bettina Hoven, van

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper demonstrates how young people make sense of religion through local places in the urban context while moving from youth to young adulthood. We draw on in-depth interviews–including a mental map-making exercise–with twenty-four young Muslims (18–30) from a wide range of cultural backgrounds living in Metro Vancouver (Canada). Their narratives reveal young people ‘live’ religion in various local places and how spatialities of lived religion change over time. We highlight how making sense of religion is reflected in the changing meaning of the mosque and relates to the increased salience of places shared with young Muslims in which our participants negotiate religion in the context of their everyday lives in the city. While many studies on Muslim identities have established the complexities and dynamics of negotiating religion at specific local places, we argue for a focus on relations between lived religion at various local places over time. These spatiotemporal complexities are able to capture how making sense of religion is spatially and fluidly manifested in the urban context of Metro Vancouver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-688
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number5
Early online date29-Apr-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • everyday places
  • lived religion
  • Metro Vancouver
  • Muslim youth
  • religious identities
  • spatiotemporal approach

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