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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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Urban Megachurches and Contentious Religious Politics in Seoul

Urban Megachurches and Contentious Religious Politics in Seoul

(p.133) 7 Urban Megachurches and Contentious Religious Politics in Seoul
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City

Ju Hui Judy Han

University of California Press

This chapter examines the contentious religious politics of urban megachurches in Seoul, South Korea. It begins with an overview of the urban political ecology of religion in Seoul in the context of the city's complex multireligious geographies. Focusing on the case of SaRang Community Church, it then highlights the uneven urban geography of conflicting aspirations for growth and belonging. Two key moments relating to the SaRang Community Church are considered: the 2007 labor dispute involving a church leader who was also a corporate business leader, and the 2013 grand opening of the church's new building as well as the controversies surrounding its expansion and construction. This chapter examines the successes of megachurch growth as well as the tensions and political conflicts within and across the public sphere.

Keywords:   religious politics, megachurches, Seoul, South Korea, political ecology, religion, SaRang Community Church, urban geography, labor dispute, public sphere

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