Beyond binaries: Conservative Catholic visions and real estate in Ave Maria, FL

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4 Scopus citations


Ave Maria is a New Urban university town in rural southwest Florida that embodies a conservative Catholic world view. The way it responded to the recent housing market crash is a good example of how negotiations between religious and non-religious spheres are constantly spatialising new, and reinterpreting existing, values, landscapes and practices. At times, the outcome of these dynamics clearly articulates distinctions between religious and non-religious domains. However, there are also circumstances where the difference between religious and non-religious domains is a matter of degree rather than a binary. In Ave Maria, planned religicity and its interplay with non-religious forces result in varying gradients of spatial sacralisation. This paper shows that planned religious developments ultimately rework the concept of belief in ways that cannot be fully controlled, open up new possibilities for spiritual practice and broaden the identification of influential agencies at work in the construction of urban settlements. Ave Maria exemplifies the productive power of religion to make things happen spatially, through dialectical relationships with the physical, economic, cultural and political forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-110
Number of pages17
JournalCulture and Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Catholicism
  • Florida
  • GIS
  • housing bubble
  • planning
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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