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Urban Church ImaginedReligion, Race, and Authenticity in the City$
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Jessica M. Barron and Rhys Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479877669

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479877669.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 Urban Outfitters
Source:
Urban Church Imagined
Author(s):

Jessica M. Barron

Rhys H. Williams

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479877669.003.0003

This chapter discusses in more detail the extent to which the congregational culture at Downtown Church is predicated on a sense of fashion and connects with those who are comfortable with cultural consumption. The core of Downtown Church is a “matrix of authenticity” triangulated by middle-class consumption of city spaces, urban nightlife and entertainment, and the visible presence of racial and ethnic minorities thought to characterize the diversity that marks a city. The emphasis on a particular type of congregant, and the image of what makes a church authentically urban, combine to form a “designer church.” The gendered nature of many of these expectations is clear and appears in several church-sponsored events. Another example of this aspect of the congregation’s culture is a dress code for those involved in being a public presence for the church (such as the greeters); the code itself is not focused on modesty or more conservative notions of propriety, but rather emphasizes contemporary fashion.

Keywords:   urban nightlife, cultural consumption, designer church, dress code, matrix of authenticity

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