Tryggare kan ingen vara. Migration, religion och integration i en segregerad omgivning

Sammanfattning: Religion has greater importance in many immigrants’ lives after migration than it had before. The thesis examines why this is so. It also analyzes the social consequences of religious commitments and membership. More specifically, the chain of causal links between migration, religion and integration or segregation is explored, through the identification of social mechanisms on the societal, organizational and individual level. The findings of the study are presented as a theoretical model. On the individual level, migration is causing destabilization of habitus, relativization and a fragmentation of social networks. Religion compensates for these effects by being a social arena where new relations can be generated, by offering an objectified worldview, and by providing a link to the life before migration. The religious organizations in the study actively try to recruit migrants, for material and theological reasons. Especially Pentecostal and other protestant churches produce religious capital, that is, credibility for the belief system and sensations of a transcendental reality, by producing an integrated community in segregated surroundings. In turn, this makes them attractive to migrants. The Muslim congregation successfully attracts and integrates migrants from different nations, through a pared-down Islam adapted to Swedish circumstances. Over time, involvement in a religious congregation will generate faith in a belief system. However, this belief system exceeds conceptions of a transcendental reality and God. Above all, religious ideology concerns categorizations of self and other, and about the group, its boundaries and distinction. Every religious organization has a grammar of identity, a specific understanding and evaluation of internal cultural differences as well as differences transcending the boundaries of the religious group. The grammar of identity is consequential for internal integration or segregation. It is also consequential for stimulating an expansion or reduction of differences, as well as for encouraging or impeding durable relations across the boundaries of social categories. A conclusion is that the social effects of religion are depending on categorization processes on the organizational level. However, these processes are in turn situated in a context of structural and cultural factors on the societal level. The grammar of identity stands in a dynamic relationship to general schemata of stigmatization, ethnic segregation, and discrimination of migrants.

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