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Accepted Paper:

Shared Cosmopolitan Imagery among Muslim and Christian Indonesian Jerusalem-Pilgrims  
Mirjam Lücking (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes cosmopolitan imagery in advertisements and pilgrimage photography in Muslim and Christian Indonesian Jerusalem-pilgrimages. This imagery reflects cosmopolitan middle-class identities but also vernacular cosmopolitanism across different religious, national and social affiliations.

Paper long abstract:

Cosmopolitan imagery in Indonesian transnational pilgrimage-tourism to Jerusalem reveals, on the one hand, elitist middle-class identities and polarizing engagements with the Israel-Palestine conflict. On the other hand, it conveys notions of vernacular cosmopolitanism that include people from different religious, national and social backgrounds. Furthermore, some cosmopolitan images create more nuanced understandings of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In reference to Strassler’s (2020) work on democracy, images and mediation in contemporary Indonesia, I argue that vernacular cosmopolitan imagery goes beyond the sphere of travel because of the images’ meanings within the Indonesian domestic context and their online accessibility to non-travelers. Even if tourist-pilgrims mainly move in the “environmental bubble” (Cohen 1972) of the tourist group, the imagery mediates views of the world and one’s place in it, also during the pandemic. As a fun activity and a medium of encounter, photography can blur the environmental bubble that is usually coined by stereotypical perceptions of cultural Others, and thus it inspires reflections, which may go beyond the class-related connotations of cosmopolitan imagery and enhance “critical cosmopolitanism” (Delanty 2009). The internet and the ability to take part in circulating images makes this process communicative and dialogic.

With these observations, the paper shall contribute to overarching questions on transnationalism in times of populist polarizations and shed light on the contradictions and ambivalences in expressions of cosmopolitanism. Regarding the conference themes of hope and transformation, this case study shall offer examples of specific conditions that foster openness and inclusion across different religious, national and social affiliations.

Panel P127a
The Reconfiguration of the Cosmopolitan: 'Being Transnational' in Viral Times
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -