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Migration and Religion in Europe: Comparative Perspectives on South Asian Experiences

Migration and Religion in Europe
Comparative Perspectives on South Asian Experiences Edited by Ester Gallo, Gediz University, Turkey

Ashgate 2014

Religious practices and their transformation are crucial elements of migrants’ identities and are increasingly politicized by national governments in the light of perceived threats to national identity. As new immigrant flows shape religious pluralism in Europe, longstanding relations between the State and Church are challenged, together with majority-faith traditions and societies’ ways of representing and perceiving themselves.

With attention to variations according to national setting, this volume explores the process of reformulating religious identities and practices amongst South Asian ‘communities’ in European contexts, Presenting a wide range of ethnographies, including studies of Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam amongst migrant communities in contexts as diverse as Norway, Italy, the UK, France and Portugal, Migration and Religion in Europe sheds light on the meaning of religious practices to diasporic communities. It examines the manner in which such practices can be used by migrants and local societies to produce distance or proximity, as well as their political significance in various ‘host’ nations.

Offering insights into the affirmation of national identities and cultures and the implications of this for governance and political discourse within Europe, this book will appeal to scholars with interests in anthropology, religion and society, migration, transnationalism and gender.

Contents: Introduction: South Asian migration and religious pluralism in Europe, Ester Gallo; A universal Hinduism? Dancing coloniality in multicultural London, Sitara Thobani; ‘Our future will be in India’:
travelling nuns between Europe and South Asia, Gertrud Hüwelmeier; The status and role of the Norwegian-Pakistani mosque: interfaith harmony and women’s rights in Norway, Farhat Taj; The mobility of religion:
settling Jainism and Hinduism in the Belgian public sphere, Hannelore Roos; Sikh associational life in Britain: gender and generation in the public sphere, Kaveri Qureshi; Temple Publics as interplay in multiple public spheres: public faces of Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu life in Switzerland, Rafaela Eulberg; Buddhist, Hindu, Kirati, or something else? Nepali strategies of religious belonging in the UK and Belgium, David N. Gellner, Sondra L. Hausner and Bal Gopal Shrestha; Hindutva and its discontents in Denmark, Stig Toft Madsen and Kenneth Bo Nielsen; Sikhs in Italy: Khalsa identity from mimesis to display, Federica Ferraris and Silvia Sai; ‘Our Lady of Carmo is the patroness of our
family’: migration, religion and belonging of Portuguese-Goan Brahmans converted to Catholicism, Marta Vilar Rosales; Ganesha Caturthi and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Paris: inventing strategies of visibility and legitimacy in a plural monoculturalist society, Anthony Goreau; From Sanskrit classicism to Tamil devotion: shifting images of Hinduism in Germany, Kamala Ganesh; A suitable faith: Catholicism, domestic labour and identity politics among Malayalis in Rome, Ester Gallo; Index.

About the Editor: Ester Gallo is Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Gediz, Izmir, Turkey.

Reviews: ‘In recent years, South Asian religions and people have increasingly made themselves visible in European towns and cities. New grand architecture and open processions, but also societal controversies, shifted South Asian minorities from invisibility to public awareness accompanied by both tribute and trouble. The volume brings together new and fascinating research and highlights the diversity and vitality of South Asian religions in Europe.’ Martin Baumann, University of Lucerne, Switzerland

‘Migration and Religion in Europe will stimulate readers’ understanding of the diversity of minorities’ migration experiences and religious profiles in many states of Western Europe. Particularly fascinating are the disclosures of intersections between gender, politics and caste in this series of expert ethnographies. The comparative dimension of many chapters (between groups and between historical periods) is particularly illuminating.’ Eleanor Nesbitt, University of Warwick, UK