In The Mosque Conflict in Catalonia: Space, Culture, and Capitalism, Martin Lundsteen examines two paradigms around mosque conflicts—one of an analytical nature and the other of a political-technical nature. Lundsteen argues that both paradigms interpret conflicts culturally, as originating primarily in the symbolic realm. Though racism and xenophobia are certainly at the core of the issue, Lundsteen shows through the study of the conflict surrounding the mosque project in Premià de Mar (Barcelona) that other dimensions of utmost importance lurk behind these interpretations. This book constitutes an anthropological approach to the intersection of local-global processes of contemporary capitalism and emphasizes the understudied socio-spatial dimension of these conflicts.
Martin Lundsteen is Carlsberg Foundation visiting fellow at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, and a teacher at the University of Barcelona and the University of Girona.
Chapter 1. Conflicts over the Construction of a Mosque in Premià de Mar
Chapter 2. The Context: Premià de Mar
Chapter 3. Premià de Mar within the Geography of Capitalism
Chapter 4. Cultural Conflicts?
In this enlightening book, Martin Lundsteen masterfully unveils the political and economic fabric of an apparent “cultural conflict.” The Mosque Conflict carefully traces the connections between spatial valorization and the devaluation of migrant labor, pointing to processes of contemporary capitalism that are hidden in plain sight.
Drawing on a controversy over a mosque in a small town near Barcelona, Martin Lundsteen deftly weaves together analysis of class, place, space, and racism as they play into one another in the context of urban transformation shaped by shifts in the local and geopolitical landscape.
Through a historical-ethnographic reconstruction of an infamous mosque conflict in Catalonia, Lundsteen unravels the political and economic logics that underpin opposition to mosque siting in Spain and Europe more broadly. As Lundsteen compellingly argues, class contradictions, capital accumulation and real estate expansion are key drivers of these conflicts, yet these processes tend to get buried under media and expert narratives that present such conflicts as the consequence of cultural incompatibility and religious intolerance. Showing how xenophobic discourses and far-right political parties feed off of such culturalist explanations, The Mosque Conflictin Catalonia makes clear that we evacuate political economy at our own peril.