Conference Agenda

RN30_05a: Religion and integration
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Jolanta Grotowska-Leder, University of Lodz
Location: GM.302
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


Raising a Religious Generation as a Primary Target: Quran Kindergartens in Turkey

Ece Cihan Ertem

Lund University, Sweden

This paper presents a part of a post-doctoral research in progress and scrutinizes a very new step taken by Turkish state to raise a religious generation with the integration of Islam to early childhood education in a secular country. Introduced by Turkish government in 2013, Quran kindergartens are a recent project on early childhood education and presented as “Quran courses for preschoolers” project. Even though these schools are called “courses”, all of them are executed as kindergartens where children spend their whole day. These schools are also known with the name “Sıbyan Mektepleri”, in reference to the schools for children aged from five to six years old during the Ottoman Empire. The choice of this name is not a coincidence; hence, this paper argues that this name is a cultural reference for non-secular education of the Ottoman Empire and related to neo-Ottomanism discourse of the ruling party, AKP as well as related to a strategy of “institutional layering” in the sense Kathleen Thelen discusses. Within this context, it focuses on the preliminary field work results composed on the in-depth interviews with parents and educators in Quran Kindergartens. It will also supply some information about the environment of kindergartens based on field observations, curricula and legal infrastructure of the schools. In a nut shell, as expressed in the official statements of the AKP government Quran kindergartens are a state funded project for the transformation of Turkish youth by raising a pious Muslim generation and a new case for academic research.

Studying "integration" among unaccompanied Syrian refugee youth in Germany: Alfred Schütz applied in ethnography

Ingmar Zalewski

University of Applied Science Potsdam, Germany

The current debates on refugee youth’s integration and belonging are flawed in two ways. On the one hand, little attention is paid to phenomena of social exclusion that go along with these processes. Dynamics of “successful integration” are investigated in their own right instead. On the other hand, studies lack a perspective that focuses on subjective meaning and might explore how youth themselves perceive these challenges in their everyday life. In this paper I want to present a framework inspired by Alfred Schütz and apply it to these shortcomings. Its focus lies on social exclusion within the everyday challenges of integration, captured from the standpoint of the subject. The underlying data derives from long-term ethnographic research studying the process of integration within a clique of adolescent unaccompanied refugees from Syria in Germany (ongoing dissertation project). Within the complex shifts of belonging from Syrian to German (host) society, it will be shown that the youth’s status as social subjects is threatened and overshadowed not just by ongoing asylum procedures and precarious living situations. What is more, the lack of societal and cultural knowledge – since knowledge, gathered in Syria, tends to be devalued in Germany – may lead to a severe state of social exclusion. However, youth are not portrayed as victims, but instead their counter strategies are emphasized as they take to adapting and reclaiming agency. Applied within ethnographic methodology, Alfred Schütz' tools to focus on lifeworld and subjective meaning are helpful here to better understand the subjective scope of questioning youth’s belonging in contemporary Europe.

Keywords: refugee youth, integration, social exclusion, everyday life, Alfred Schütz

Challengers or Moderators of fundamentalist Islamic perspective? The "Woman to Woman Concert Group".

Ayça Oral

Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey

This paper examines the formation of the personal and communal life of young, conservative Muslim women as cultural participants and culture makers in the current social and political climate in Turkey. Nationalistic tendencies accompanying the process of Islamization, have been noticeably reflected in the cultural sphere in recent years. Based on the empirical data gathered since 2018, the concert group shows that it has the capacity to challenge how participation and production of the community are performed and to transform the sphere within which the youth exist, whilst preserving its status within the prevailing community. While the selection of the songs, largely out of step with conservative norms, emphasizes interaction with other cultures and encourages greater intercultural engagement, the backgrounds of songs are adapted to fit what is acceptable within their community. Therefore, I will argue that in their performances, singing multicultural songs to women-only audiences, and gatherings, these women are in fact creating a new way of life, escaping conservative, routine daily life.

The research is conducted in the framework of the Horizon 2020- CHIEF project “Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe's Future” (№ 770464).

Disengagment Among Young Adults from the Salafist-Jihadist Scene, Supported by Preventive Interventions

Christoph Nagel, Mika Josephine Moeller

Technical University of Berlin, Germany

Recently, various research projects have emerged in Germany focusing on the deradicalization of radical Islamists. In many cases, the group of foreign fighters who have moved to relevant conflict areas has been looked at. Investigating the phenomenon of returnees, empirical social research was able to identify a variety of push and pull factors, find reasons for return, and evaluate their possible deradicalization.

In our research project, we focus at another group of actors, namely the persons who are in (state-sponsored) prevention programs. We suspect that these mostly juvenile actors are different from the returnees who are often examined. For returners, disillusionment, the desire for a "normal" life, and "the fear of being caught" (M.B Altier et Al. p. 320 2017) play an important role in disengagement. The group we examine differs from this one. Our partners in interviews are often only at an early stage of radicalization, inspired by social media and usally less tied to radical groups. Participation in prevention programs is initiated by parents or teachers or the police. The paper discusses the question, which factors are relevant in disengagement processes from radical attitudes related to those adolescents and young adults and what role does integration play in communication and cooperation contexts that are oriented towards communication and mutual respect?

The research project started in October 2017 and we want to present the first results at ESA.