Accepted paper:

Religion on the move - The transformation of religion in the life course of nurses from Kerala in Germany

Authors:

Antony Pattathu (University of Tübingen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the changing religious practice of nurses from Kerala in Germany, tracing their religious transformations and self understanding in retrospective to the migration process and life course, reflecting on the practice in Kerala then and in Germany now within urban settings.

Paper long abstract:

In the 1960s in the aftermath of Vatican II and through the help of their local priests young Christian women from Kerala were recruited and prepared to go to Germany to be trained as nurses and brought to new rural an urban settings there. Their whole life, religious practice and self-understanding changed in the adaptation process to the host culture and religion. Through the training process some of them got to know their German partners and some went back to Kerala to get married by their parents in an arranged marriage and then started their families. Following biographical accounts of nurses from Kerala in Germany the paper investigates the changing face of religion on the move, focusing on the individual religious developments and religious meaning-making of some of those nurses through the course of their life and in relation to their job and the urban setting. The migration and adaption process to the German culture is retrospectively addressed by them, thinking about experiences of racism and changing values of family and partnership and the pressure of being accepted within the diaspora community, rooted in a common bond to the (imagined) homeland Kerala and the shared religious practice. The mediating role of the church and the priests, helping to integrate them into the new urban and cultural context builds another layer of analysis in this ethnographic account. The paper will contextualize those narratives within the framework of postcolonial and migration studies.

panel P104
Religion on the move: comparative ethnographic accounts of migration and urban religiosity