This panel explores the religious choices that migrants make in the city and the multiple implications that these choices embody for mediating adjustment to urban life, constructing subjectivities and negotiating inter-community relations and transnational connections.
This panel invites contributions which discuss the various ways in which migrants experience, construct and articulate their religious identities in the city, the strategies and aspirations that inform their religious choices and how these choices help them navigate life in the metropolis, resist and rework dominant relations of power and (re)discover their 'true' selves. The panel draws inspiration from recent anthropological work which has sought to demonstrate that religion can be modern and innovative, a vehicle for personal and community transformation, for meaning- and space-making and a mediator of intercommunity relations (van der Veer 2015, Hefner 1998). Possible questions could include, but are not limited to: What role does religion play in the lives of migrants? What constitutes the 'religious' in the urban environment? Are perceptions of the 'religious' transformed in urban settings? What types of religious associations do migrants participate in? How are religious knowledge and practice transmitted in urban environments? What material aspects of religion become salient in cities? How do religious institutions mediate relations and negotiate cultural differences between migrant and host populations? In what ways do religious practices shape and contest urban spaces? How do transnational connections configure religious practices and religious identities in the city? How are religious identities transformed by the triangulation of place of origin, migration destination and constant movements between the two? Regional specialisation is open; we seek contributions discussing any form of religious expression that can be found in urban environments, both in relation to international and internal migration.