CoCo – A Research Project Exploring Sense of Safety in Religious Spaces

Safety is never the same as a sense of safety. The recent global challenges have eroded our safety, yet also – and oftentimes much more – sense of safety.

Our project CoCo investigates how sense of safety is constructed and contested in relation to, and in, religious spaces.

We will fulfill the objective by execution of three research questions:

1. How, in concrete, to spatially approach sense of safety in relation, and in, religious communities as embodied spaces? (focus on methodological understanding & tools)
2. How to deepen spatial analysis on sense of safety with nuanced understanding of politics of belonging, including recognition? (focus on theoretical tools linked to methods)
3. How does religion promote and erode sense of safety, and what kind of spatial-embodied dimensions are at play at intrapersonal, interpersonal, and societal levels (empirical cases)

CoCo is a research project at the Faculty of Theology in the University of Helsinki. It is funded by the Academy of Finland and led by prof. Anne Birgitta Pessi.

Empirically, our focus is on three religious contexts:

1. Judaism, especially ritual baths in Northern Europe

2. LGBTIQ+-muslims in Europe

3. Art, embodiment and spirituality in the Finnish Lutheran context