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Accepted Paper:

Religious community as a family: forms of belonging in an Orthodox Romanian community in Umbria  
Scilla Passeri (University of Perugia - Italy) Cristina Papa (University of Perugia)

Paper short abstract:

The community of Orthodox Romanian immigrants in Umbria represent themselves through the metaphor of family connecting their religious affiliation with their national belonging.

Paper long abstract:

Through the analysis of an ethnographic case focused on the Romanian Orthodox community located in Umbria, this presentation will address the importance of religion for the migrants against the Secularization theory. This orthodox parish creates a transnational community connected by various kind of ties such as religious, national, linguistic, mutual help, and educative ones. Because of the above, they represent themselves through the metaphor of the family. For this long-time migration, this parish provides both religious services and several kind of support like economic assistance, educational services, socialization spaces and the legitimating and representation towards Italian authorities. We argue that the use of the family metaphor help to keep together the bond with the Romania (through national festivities), the families in Romania (through the education of younger children left to relatives and some central orthodox rites as the rituals for the dead); and the Italian social networks and political institutions. Most scholars counterpose the identification of migrants with national states to their affiliation to religious groups, which support the framing of collective diasporic identities and inform creative modes of cross-generational cultural production. (Cohen 1997; Hinnells 2007; Nesbitt 2007). We will argue instead that those migrants identify themselves both as Orthodox and Romanian. Therefore we can call the national belonging and the religious affiliation 'a mutuality of being' (Sahlins 2013) represented and conceptualized through the family model.

Panel P137
The future of global belonging: anthropological legacies of kinship studies
  Session 1