Christianity, young migrants and the mega-city: ethnographic case-studies from New Delhi, India
Iliyana Angelova (University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
The paper proposes a theoretical discussion of the mega-city as a new super-diverse social space where young minority migrants employ various strategies in order to negotiate their marginal position and find new forms of centrality and purpose for themselves through the religious choices they make.
Paper long abstract:
The dynamics of social life in the world's mega-cities (metropolitan areas with more than 10 million residents) has recently become the focus of scholarly scrutiny as anthropologists have sought to understand processes of urbanisation, social transformation and intergroup interaction in some of the largest metropolises on the planet. It appears that the cultural, demographic, ethnic, religious etc. diversity of mega-cities surpasses any previous level of complexity urban environments might have experienced, thus transforming them into new types of super-diverse (cf. Vertovec 2007) metropolises where new power struggles, new contestations and new social inequalities emerge. The paper discusses some of the characteristic dimensions of this new super-diversity in the mega-city of New Delhi, and explores the role of Christianity, as a minority religion, in shaping the identity constructions of young Christian migrants from the Northeastern states of Nagaland and Manipur in New Delhi. The paper studies the various strategies and aspirations that inform the religious choices of young Naga migrants on the apparently rich spiritual market of the mega-city; the ways in which this is intertwined with young people's participation in urban (and transnational) social networks; and the ways in which religious choices inform young Nagas' negotiations of everyday precarity as they navigate life in the potentially dangerous mega-city, which often remains hostile to religious and ethnic minorities.
Religion on the move: comparative ethnographic accounts of migration and urban religiosity