The bonding and bridging roles of religious institutions for refugees in a non-gateway context

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Abstract

Contemporary research indicates that religious institutions can play bonding and bridging roles in the lives of immigrants, strengthening the bonds within immigrant groups while simultaneously connecting immigrants to the wider society. The majority of this research focuses on religious institutions in US cities with long histories of immigration and sizable immigrant populations. This article examines the role of religious institutions in the lives of refugees living in a city with a small, but rapidly growing immigrant population. Evidence from interviews with Catholic and Muslim refugees and participant observation at two houses of worship suggests that the functions of religious institutions differ for refugees from majority and minority religious traditions. Catholic refugees use their church for bonding and bridging purposes, while Muslim refugees use their mosque primarily for bonding purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1068
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Assimilation
  • Immigrants
  • Islam
  • Refugees
  • Religion
  • Social capital

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