Religious Welfare on the Margins

Religious Welfare on the Margins examines how religious civil society organizations complement and confront the narrow formatting of citizenship as a legal concept offered by the state

World Passport, Tom Mùller. Photo: Wikimedia Comons.

Religious civil society organizations (RCSOs) give important contributions to the work with marginalised, immigrants and refugees all over Europe, complementing the often limited activities of state authorities in this field. While a good part of this work is done on behalf of the state, RCSOs perform a variety of additional services of their own, challenging established notions of citizenship as a state-centred concept. There has, so far, been relatively little research on the relationship between the ways in which religion and citizenship interact. Current citizenship discussions, like the Citizenship after Orientalism project, are now shifting their focus from the issue of strictly legal citizenship to notions like citizenship of belonging or citizenship of becoming. In this framework, RCSOs challenge the legal formatting of citizenship by sheltering and supporting marginalized ‘others’ in direct violation of court orders and public policy on immigration, thereby offering alternative modes of belonging and becoming. Religious Welfare on the Margins examines how RCSOs complement and confront the narrow formatting of citizenship as a legal concept offered by the state.

Building on experiences gathered from work with the edited volume Heterotopic citizen: new research on religious work for the disadvantaged (Wyller 2009), and the forthcoming Rooms for others (Wyller 2014), the subproject will conduct research on an initiative for for undocumented migrants in a Protestant church in Gothenburg, in the ‘Settlement’ project in Copenhagen, in a monastic project for inter-religious dialogue in Austria, and in the ‘Occupy’ movement in The United States of America. An interesting perspective is how far one could say that these counternarratives and counterpractices contribute to a religiously driven welfare state critique and alternative. 

Published Mar. 16, 2015 1:09 PM - Last modified Mar. 16, 2015 1:09 PM