Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Africans in Moscow: foreign churches as a factor of socio-cultural adaptation or non-adaptation  

Author:

Ekaterina Shakhbazyan (Institute for African Studies)

Paper short abstract:

The role of the foreign Churches is estimated as dualistic: They promote the adepts' keeping of their original identities giving them the feeling of psychological comfort, while can also move them further away from the values accepted in the Russian society complicating the process of adaptation.

Paper long abstract:

The paper is based on the field evidence collected in 2007 and 2008. In spite of the fact that the present research is limited to the Moscow megapolis, we believe that, although probably with some minor reservations, the situation in Moscow can be projected on other Russian megapoleis in which the overwhelming majority of African migrants is concentrated.

Among the great variety of factors that influence the migrants' socio-cultural adaptation process (educational and professional background, language skills, family status, financial position, interrelation with the accepting socio-cultural milieu, etc.), the factor of religion stands prominently. This factor includes not only the role the beliefs as such are playing but also the possibilities for performing the cult in the host country and the part the religious organizations (Churches in the case of Christians) play as a means of the migrants' integration and co-operation. The role of the foreign Churches to which the majority of the African Christians living in Moscow belong is estimated in the paper as dualistic: On the one hand, they promote the adepts' keeping of their original identities (not religious only but socio-cultural in general as well) what can give them the feeling of psychological comfort, while on the other hand they can also move the migrants further away from the norms and values accepted in the Russian society, thus complicating the process of their adaptation.

Panel W004
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa