Identity Constructions and Religious Boundary Making among Muslim, Christian and Non-believing Urban Youngsters in Belgium
University of Antwerp, Belgium
This paper investigates the role of religion in identity constructions and symbolic boundary making among Muslim, Christian and Non-believing youngsters in the super-diverse city of Antwerp, Belgium. In Europe, Islam is portrayed as the negative ‘other’ in public and political discourse, whereas for European Muslims religion remains a highly valued identity dimension. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 30 Muslims, 10 Christian and 10 Non-believing youngsters in the 5th and 6th year of two high schools in Antwerp, our research focuses on the salience of the religious boundary.
More precisely, we examine: (1) How Muslim, Christian and Non-believing urban youngsters construct their multiple identities within social interactions and (2) How religious boundaries are made and unmade, and under which conditions they emerge as blurred or bright.
Our results, first, indicate that Muslim, Christian and Non-believing urban youngsters tend to blur the religious boundaries by emphasizing cosmopolitan beliefs and identities and by prioritizing individualized and intrinsic humanistic and/or religious values. Second, contrastingly, Christian and Non-believing youngsters tend to brighten religious boundaries by emphasizing (sub)-national identities and culturalizing Western-European Christianity in contrast to Islam as the cultural ‘other’. In addition, Muslims emphasize their religious identity as a way of revalorizing a stigmatized identity. Lastly, our results suggest bright symbolic boundaries between students from an academic/technical educational track and a vocational track. The intersection between the religious marker and social status creates greater challenges for Muslim students within vocational tracks.
Religious and social capitals as tools for developing an European Islam. New challenges for Muslim Second Generations in Southern European countries
University of Turin, Italy
Despite there being a rich body of literature on migrations, studies investigating religion within immigrant communities, including its role and impact on the second generation, have been less extensive. However, evidence from some contemporary ethnic groups suggests that religion may play a strong role in the lives of second-generation members. Even though several studies have been focussed on Muslims with a migratory background in Europe, this paper intends to address the lack of studies on Muslim gecond generation and their religious transnational links and to explore how this specific youth group develop its religiousness in several European countries (i.e. Spain, Italy and Portugal), where the socio-economic and political contexts are stressing difficulties in managing the religious diversity expressed by Muslims and especially its juvenile component.
Indeed, the growing presence of Muslims in various Southern European countries stresses relations with “diversity”: the issues of control and safety have been on the agenda for many years and are coming back recently. On the other hand, according to Muslim organizations there is a common interest in presenting a “moderate Islam”. There is a specific will and interest of the youngest Muslim generations to demonstrate their propensity to promote integration, using both old (debates, meetings..) and new (websites, blog...) policy tools.
I will examine to what extent Muslim second generations in Europe are using both their religious and social capitals in promoting an European Islam, by using an interdisciplinary approach which combines migration and religious studies’ perspectives integrating qualitative (90 interviews with young Muslim people, aged 24-29, gender balanced) with quantitative (on-line survey) research data collected within a transnational project on "Religions among second generations".
The Influence Of The Denominational Background On the Intentions Of Those Involved in Higher Education And International Mobility In Hungary And Transylvania (Romania).
Károli Gáspár University, Hungary
Of the social processes of the decades since the change of regime in Hungary and Romania, the high growth in the number of students in tertiary education is of great importance as well as the migration of Hungarian and Romanian labour to abroad in the last ten years. The effect of the denominational background on education is emphasized both by international (Lehrer 1999, Sikkink and Fischer 2004, Murphy 2016) and Hungar-ian research (Karády 1997, Nagy 2012). This is generally true of international migration literature, but in a first and foremost way, comparing the great world religions. The situation in Hungary is unique with regard to the two mobility dimensions. The reformed (Calvinist) people regarding the participation of higher education, until the change of the regime, unlike the international tendencies and Weberian theory (Weber 1982), were under-represented among the higher education graduates (Nagy 2012). With regard to international mobility, in recent decades there was not much evidence that a country with a significant protestant minority and a catholic majority has a significant labour emigration. The Research of Religious Sociology of the KRE provides an opportunity to understand such components of denominational cultures. Four large-sample surveys (of 1000 persons each) at Hungary and Transylvania (Romania) have been conducted using and complementing the questionnaire of the European Value Survey. The questions asked during the research also allow us to examine the two types of willingness to move to different levels of denominations activity (baptismal, denominational identity, active denominational membership). We will try to reconstruct whether the value and ethical background variables can be explored. The lecture tries to clarify the relationship between the two types of mobility with the denominational background.
Does Being Russian Means Being Orthodox?: Representations Of The State Identity Discourse In The Russian Orthodox Believer’s Narratives About Their Religiosity
International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), University of Giessen, Germany
Since 1991 there has been a considerable increase in the self-identification with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Russia as well as a growing number of references to ROC in political discourse. Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union some researchers noted the simultaneous growth of the importance of the ROC as a social force and the decline of the social trust in the main political institutions (Tymkova 2007). In the post-soviet Russia the ROC is actively used in the political discourse not only as a core of the cultural identity, but also as the key element of the collective or rather national identity (Bremer 2009; Zorkaâ 2009). Some evidence also suggests the ROC to be an important element of historical, national and cultural identity of Russian citizens, even for those who do not believe in God (Bremer 2003: 166).
This paper aims to present an ongoing PhD research that deals with different ways of becoming and being Orthodox in the post-soviet Russia. Drawing on the narrative interviews conducted with Orthodox believers in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kursk and Smolensk in 2014, 2017 and 2018, this paper explores the understandings of the religious identity in the post-soviet Russia as well as the subjective meanings of the relationship between being Russian and being Orthodox among Russian Orthodox believers. More specifically, the goal here is to explore whether and how the Russian state discourses that depict the Orthodoxy as the core of the Russian identity are reflected in the individual narratives.