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'Mixing and Matching': The Shape of Everyday Hindu Religiosity in Singapore

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Religious pluralism is the norm rather than the exception in contemporary societies but this is by no means a recent phenomenon. This is also an empirical field that students of religion have long engaged theoretically. Such scholarly attention has generated a plethora of conceptual tools to make sense of religious encounters in multi-religious settings. As such, a number of phrases — 'religious pluralism,' 'religious diversity' and 'multi-religiosity' — abound in the relevant literature and the notions of pluralism, multiplicity and diversity inform these discussions. Such expressions as 'religious syncretism' and 'religious hybridisation' have also been proposed to address the various interactions witnessed across a variety of religious traditions. I argue that this terminology and the conceptual frames it advances need to be queried in order to assess their value and relevance for theorising interactions amongst religious traditions. This paper focuses on everyday forms of Hindu religiosity in urban Singapore and the kinds of engagement and participation that occur across religious traditions in this multi-religious context. Through my ethnography, I problematise the above-mentioned noted categories, as well as the sense-making strategies they have led to, while proposing alternative modes of approaching the realm of everyday religiosity at the level of practice.

Affiliations: 1: National University of Singapore


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