Shaping urban space and negotiating cultural difference. African Pentecostal practice in the city of The Hague, the Netherlands
(Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores how African migrant religiosity shapes urban spaces in the city of The Hague, while challenging the ways in migrant religiosity is understood by local government as a (potential) source of problems on the intersections of religion, secularity, gender and sexuality.
Paper long abstract:
In the city of The Hague, The Netherlands, migrant religiosity seems to be made visible (and manageable) primarily through the problem angle. Over the past decade the interactions between migrants and the local government have centered on particular concerns are such as the integration in Dutch society, the position of women and the management of (potential) health problems. Yet, the ways in which people from African origin position themselves in the city through establishing international churches with the mission to occupy pivotal spiritual and social leadership roles, suggests they understand themselves quite differently from these frames. Certain spatial practices -such as the church that holds its Sunday worship meetings in an expensive city center hotel- are illustrative of this. This paper will explore these differences in positioning and self-understanding informed by ethnographic fieldwork in the city of The Hague. It will reflect on the consequences of how cultural difference is negotiated on the intersections of religion, secularity, gender and sexuality.
Religion on the move: comparative ethnographic accounts of migration and urban religiosity