Islam and urbanism in indonesia:the mosque as urban identity in javanese cities

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Every religion has several typical identities that are performed by its followers in various ways. The realization of these identities may be symbolized in the form of rituals, lifestyle, fashion or buildings. Religion plays a role not only as a course or source of faithful messages, but also as a foundation for a civilization. This chapter takes the concept of urbanism as a main foundation to observe the interplay between the value of Islam and urban landscape creation. Urbanism is associated to the topics of urban symbolization or urban identity. By placing a mosque within an urban identity, it emphasizes architectural durability and represents sturdiness in dealing with external forces. The chapter discusses three different cities in Java; Tuban, Demak and Yogyakarta. The differences are not only noticed in regards to religious tradition, but also in their experiences as the center of political power. By using the conception of centrality, the results show how Islamic values have contributed significantly to urbanism in Java. However, the differences in cultural backgrounds and political power in each city affected the position of the mosque vis-a-vis the city’s identity. The findings illustrate that in the case of Java the process of urban imposition on Islamic symbols would be challenged both by Islamic tradition and the collective memory of the local people, especially in regards to their socio-religious values.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Changing World Religion Map
Subtitle of host publicationSacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789401793766
ISBN (Print)9789401793759
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Islamic tradition
  • Mosque
  • Urban identity
  • Urban imposition
  • Urbanism


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