Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN34_09a: Identities, values and religious attitudes II
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Roberta Ricucci, University of Turin
Location: BS.4.05A
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


Becoming A Good Muslim. Women/Female Mevlid Ceremonies In Turkey And Religious Socialization

Martina Crescenti, Isabella Crespi

University of Macerata, Italy

The research focuses on Islamic religious socialization in twenty-five mevlid ceremonies officiated by Muslim women in Bursa and Gemlik (Turkey). Largely widespread across the country, female mevlid ceremonies celebrate rites of passage of a person from birth to death and the birth of the prophet Muhammad on his anniversary. The mevlid revolves around the recitation of Islamic texts by a female singer/preacher (mevlithanlar), particularly an Ottoman panegyric in praise of Muhammad and God. If formerly women brought together in the domestic sphere, since the rise of Islamic political parties in the 1980’s they have been officiating mevlid in public spaces, as tea gardens, wedding salons, cultural centers. We participated in birth, puerperium, circumcision and death mevlid that occurred in some private houses, two cultural centers and a wedding salon. By using qualitative research methods, such as participant observation and interviews (five), we focused on the dynamics of religious socialization in the relation between singers/preachers and mothers. Mothers’trust in mevlithanlar as pious and erudite believers (“upper Islamic social status”) establishes a meaningful relational exchange. By choosing significant texts and preaching, singers pass down to all participants moral values of a “good mother and housewife” ideal and encourage women to raise a “perfect and judicious Muslim child”. Those figures are the cornerstone of a perfect ümmet (Islamic community) based on the Muhammad’s life and teachings, the “Model of Excellent Conduct, Merit and Virtue”.

Niqabi women in Spain: An approach to their reality

Alexandra Ainz-Galende, Ruben Rodríguez-Puertas, Juan Sebastián Fernández-Prados


In this paper we present the results obtained after a research carried out in Spain on niqabi women. Specifically, in the first place, what was sought was to know what meaning niqabi women give to the niqab. In the second place it was intended to know the motivations that these women have to be niqabi. Finally, we sought to know if the discourses of these women were fundamentalist or not. It must be said that with this research we did not seek representativeness since the women who focused our study were few and necessarily had to use a "snowball" type sampling, what was intended was to make sense and explain the variables that They give meaning to the discourse of these women

Ethnic Churches As Partners Of Welfare Organisations To Improve Elderly Care For Immigrants

Marc Breuer, Jannah Herrlein

Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Paderborn/Germany

This paper analyses opportunities and constraints of cooperation between welfare organisations and ethnic churches. Within the next years, the number of immigrants in Germany who need elderly care will steadily increase. Compared to the native population, their utilisation of professional care is significantly below-average, mostly due to language, cultural, social and religious barriers. Therefore, we ask how migrants’ access to care facilities could be improved. Our hypothesis is that ethnic churches, who act as bridges between their members and the majority (e.g. Hirschman 2004; Baumann 2015), could be important partners of welfare organisations. To analyse this issue, we have conducted semi-structured interviews and group discussions with representatives of both sides. The results indicate that many ethnic churches consider elderly care as an important issue. Not least on the basis of their religious ethics, they aim to support their elderly members by offering assistance within their organisations. On the other hand, welfare organisations regard elderly migrants as a promising and so far underrepresented group of customers. Notwithstanding many of the established caring organisations in Germany are run by the Catholic or Protestant church, they are open-minded to address the specific needs of other religious traditions. Overall, ethnic churches as well as established welfare organisations highlight not least self-interests as motives to engage in elderly care of migrants. Cooperative relations between them seem to be limited not primarily by religious or confessional barriers, but the organisations’ aim to develop services within their own spheres of influence.

Faith Narratives on Un/belonging: A Sociological Exploration Based On Experiences Of Ex-Muslims And Muslim Converts

Icram Serroukh

Middlesex University, United Kingdom

The notion of un/belonging in relation to religion has revealed itself to be significant for women who have decided to leave or join Islam. Through the innovative use of audio diaries to complement semi-structured interviews with ex-Muslims and (white British) converts to Islam, data gathered demonstrates the ways in which religion can become a means of defining identity in various ways. Identities are formed from categorisations, which in turn create boundaries (Wray, 2006). The role of wider society in establishing religious boundaries revealed itself to be significant in terms of creating either a sense of belonging, or exclusion, for the female participants in my research. The impact of this became salient when considering the conflation of religion and ethnicity, with the assumption from some members of society that these two aspects of identity are inextricably linked. For ex-Muslims, this translated to feeling as though they were no longer able to be part of their ethnic community, due to no longer being Muslim. For converts to Islam, being white illuminated the complex relationship between ethnicity and religion, with the underlying assumption projected that Muslims must ‘look’ a certain way. Thus, the construction of being white and Muslim as ‘mutually exclusive’ automatically marked converts as either not Muslim, or ‘foreign’ (Moosavi, 2015). This paper engages with religion, ethnicity and gender, to contribute to an increased understanding on how these factors manifest in lived experiences of identity.