Circumventing Sankirtan: Public Spaces, Religious Solicitations and Decisions of the United States Supreme Court
Volume 7 Issue 1 (2014)
In this paper, I examine American juridical positions on the use of public spaces for religious propagation and solicitation. While the Hare Krishna movement’s ritual of sankirtan has been researched, legal reasoning on the right to solicit donations and preach in publicly accessible spaces that involve economic activities has been less studied. By analyzing these legal positions, this paper offers a glimpse of legal consciousness on the use of public spaces for a non-mainstream religious practice. It is argued that legal consciousness is inextricable in economic rationality, and that legal reasoning normalises disciplined choreographies of purposively rational action, to which regulatory concerns of public safety and orderliness are largely subservient. As public spaces are legally conceptualised within the normative expectations of market rationality, religious activities in public spaces are largely interpreted in material terms.