Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - Migrant Religious Place-Making: The Economic, Social and Political Aspects of Making Sri Lankan Buddhist Temples in South Korea by the Sri Lankan Migrant Workers

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Casuarina, Lower Ground Floor

Migrant religious placemaking is an interesting ongoing phenomenon and disputed field in the area of the geography of religion. An investigation of these contested religious places through non-religious perspective is needed. There are around 30,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers in South Korea who came to Korea under Foreign Workers Permits System since 2003. Since 2008 these migrant workers began to create Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in South Korea. At the moment, there are six Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in South Korea which have been initiated by the Sri Lankan migrant workers. Among them, Mahaviharaya in Pyeongtaek South Korea is the first Sri Lankan Buddhist temple which is physically under construction by and for Sri Lankan immigrants. At the moment, the temple is in a temporary building in Pyeongtaek and carried out all the religious activities. The actual temple building is planned to begin in 2018. This paper is based on an ongoing research with mixed ethnographic research methods including in-depth interviews and participant observations. The paper looks at the process of temple building through the economic, social and political aspects to understand how the migrant workers secure the funds for the constructions of Sri Lanka architecture temples in South Korea. To understand the novelties of the Sri Lankan religious place-making in South Korea, this paper will investigate the negotiation between the core temple building Sri Lanka migrant workers, other Sri Lankan and non-Sri Lankan migrant workers, and Korean Buddhist communities in South Korea.

Sanjeewani Habarakada

Seoul National University, Republic of Korea

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3 - Migrant Religious Place-Making: The Economic, Social and Political Aspects of Making Sri Lankan Buddhist Temples in South Korea by the Sri Lankan Migrant Workers



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