Sacralising Space: Cultural Patterns of Interpretation of the Rhaetic Capuchin Mission (17th and 18th Century)

Zwyssig, Philipp (8 November 2013). Sacralising Space: Cultural Patterns of Interpretation of the Rhaetic Capuchin Mission (17th and 18th Century) (Unpublished). In: Christliche Mission und Kulturkontakt in der Vormoderne: Zugänge, Methoden, Fallbeispiele. Bibliothek der Schweizer Jesuitenprovinz, Zürich. 8.11.2013.

The Capuchins of the Rhaetic Missions had to deal with local forms of catholic piety, which for them were almost as exotic as the religious practices of non-Christian communities in Asia or America. Therefore they regarded it as their task to propagate the true faith among the “schismatic” Catholics from the Grisons. For this purpose, the Capuchins developed a particular pattern of interpretation: They created a sacred territory in which the divine grace can be experienced by the faithful. Hence the missionaries built new churches and chapels, decorated the old ones in baroque style and brought numerous of holy relics from Italy. Thus, they enforced the sacralisation of the alpine space. Recent developments in cultural studies and social sciences make it possible to capture such processes of spacing more precisely. In the course of the “spatial turn”, space is no longer conceived as a physical entity but now is regarded as a human construct. The paper discusses possibilities and limitations of “space” as an analytical category for the study of mission within Catholicism. The sociological concept of space developed by Martina Löw (2001) is used as starting point. This allows the simultaneous consideration of social interactions and cultural contexts in construction of “sacred space”.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Recent History

UniBE Contributor:

Zwyssig, Philipp


900 History > 940 History of Europe




Philipp Zwyssig

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2014 15:35

Last Modified:

25 Apr 2014 15:35

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Missionsgeschichte, Kulturtransfer, historische Raumanalyse


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback