'Room on the Broom': space and materiality in performing respect

FBK Aula Piccola

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula Piccola

FBK Aula Piccola

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula Piccola

FBK-ISR International Seminar 2023

The cultural, ethical or ideological contrasts that burst onto the social scene seem increasingly incapable of being based on a serious consideration of otherness and show, rather, a ‘poisoning’ of the climate. In part, this degeneration can be traced back to the tendency to ‘personalise’ confrontations, denigrating the more subjective, when not moral, aspects of the interlocutor, and thus distracting attention from what his or her otherness really ‘puts on the table’ (arguments but also choices and life practices).

We could say that what is lacking is respect, following the idea within the social sciences that this concept refers more to performance – that is, practices, ways of being in contexts marked by diversity – than to forms of personal judgement or states of mind.

But can respect, and with it the de-personalisation of confrontation, be ‘trained’?

Drawing on that body of studies that considers space and materiality as constitutive aspects of social life and the possibility of action, the seminar attempts to answer this question by adopting a situated (embodied) perspective. Looking in particular at the context of the city, it discusses the capacity of spatial and material elements to construct conditions of proximity in which it is possible to ‘make room’ for the other (as on the broomstick of the famous witch Scarlett) and to respect her ‘space of manoeuvre’.

Focusing also on the case of spaces where encounters between religiously diverse people – and between religious and secular forms of life – are most likely to occur, the seminar explores avenues of research on places of worship, sacred spaces shared by different faith communities, and ‘rooms of silence’ , which are increasingly common to meet the religious and spiritual needs of people who pass through collective spaces, organisations and public institutions in our cities.


Speaker: Valeria Fabretti, FBK-ISR

Scientific coordination: Massimo Leone, Director FBK-ISR


Cycle of seminars: “(Dis)Embodiment in Religion and Ethics”


The seminar will be held in Italian.

The presentation will be in-person in the FBK Aula Piccola while seats last and online.

Registration by November 20, 2023 at 12:00 a.m. is required in order to arrange the connection.



Fresco of Schweitzer


  • Valeria Fabretti
    Valeria Fabretti is a researcher at the Bruno Kessler Foundation, Centre for Religious Sciences, where she has coordinated multiple research projects on the themes of recognition of religious minorities, discrimination and education for diversity. Here she currently coordinates the study programme "Spaces of religions and spiritualities: places, devices and practices of encounter and recognition in plural societies" and the TESEO project, funded by CARITRO, which investigates the places of religions in Trentino and the possibilities open for the creation of multi-faith spaces in physical and virtual contexts. She has been a research fellow at the Department of Social and Economic Sciences at 'Sapienza' ; University of Rome and at the Centre for the Study of the Post-Secular Society at the University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', where she has been teaching General Sociology for several years.


Registration to this event is mandatory.

Registration closed on 20/11/2023.



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