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Diaspora: A Source of Hybritization

Session Chair: Martin Baumann | Monday, August 24, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Henrietta Nyamnjoh

Religious Transnationalism and the quest for emotional and physical healing: The case of Cameroonian migrants in Cape Town

Based on on-going ethnographic research in Cape Town amongst Cameroonian migrants, this study explores how religion has become a panacea for African migrants in general and Cameroonians in particular. I argue that in a bid to seek physical and emotional healing from traumatic experiences such as witchcraft, family feuds and disconnection as well as miracle healing from ailment considered to have been bewitched, religious ‘prostitution’ amongst these migrant communities is rife in an effort to find fulfilment. I also explore how key to achieving economic success, migrants have turned to Pentecostal pastors for prayers to become successful. In the quest of ‘salvation’, religious transnationalism has become common place for those who could afford to travel for healing and deliverance from tele-evangelists within South Africa and the African continent. The paper explores how migrants’ everyday lives are enmeshed in reading spiritual ‘Rhapsody’, and marked by speaking in biblical parables and annotation.

Barbara Dellwo

Visibilization of Religious Belonging and Social Position: Highly Skilled Muslim Migrants in Geneva

In the aftermath of the “cultural turn”, there is a common understanding that the main fault lines dividing people are of cultural and, increasingly, of religious nature. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted within the project “(In)visible Islam in the City”, which explores the ways in which individuals of Islamic culture express their presence in Swiss urban spaces, I noted on the contrary that social position was a major factor in their everyday practices and strategies of self-representation. Firstly, highly skilled migrants historically enjoy a better image than other migrants. Furthermore, their social, cultural and symbolic capital provides them with more resources to handle the dominant discourse on Islam in Switzerland. In the light of these facts, I intend to show how highly skilled Muslim migrants shape and display a certain form of “Orientalism”, responding both to the rhetoric of cosmopolitanism and to a global process of urban marketing of diversity.

Natalia Zawiejska

Angolan evangelical communities in Lisbon

The paper is based on the field research conducted in 2013-2014 in Portugal and Angola. In the last two decades several Angolan evangelical communities started to mark their presence in the Lisbon’s religious landscape. Many of them are independent evangelical churches based on one leader charisma, but there are several cases when an Angolan division of the global denomination or well developed Angolan based denomination started the missionary work in Portugal. These are the cases of Assembly of God of Maculusso and Good God Church (Igreja Bom Deus). The paper will show the complex interchange between Portuguese society and Portuguese religious institutions and these religious migrant communities. I will concentrate on spatial and material dimensions as well as appoint the political, cosmopolitan and global context of the actions undertaken by these communities in balancing between adaptation and maintaining their social and religious identity.

Georgios Trantas, Eleni Tseligka

Greek Migrants in Germany and their Entopic Fulfilment via their Church

Migration entails mobility therefore location is in flux. Yet in the case of Greek migrants in Germany the establishment of their communities has been facilitated by the Greek-Orthodox Church with spatiality being taken into consideration so that it became part of their collective narrative. This allowed for an appropriation of the place by- and in the latter, such, that narrative begot entopia and the initial deterritorialization shifted to spatial fulfilment and integration. The aforementioned phenomenon can be attested by extended iconographic examples where, at a symbolic level, German language and prominent local landmarks have been integrated in church-building frescoes. Additionally, new figures of memory have enriched their now hybrid calendar and cyclical time-lapse perception, with new anniversaries that stem from their unique narratives and self-perception. Notably, the public manifestation/celebration of narrative hybridity is mostly organised and hosted by their corresponding parishes, within the premises of the latter when possible.


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Thematic Outline

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