Skip to main content

The Making and Unmaking of Religious Boundaries

Comparing Turkish and Moroccan Muslim minorities in European Cities

Abstract

In public debates over multiculturalism in Europe, Islamic values and ways of life are commonly represented as incompatible with Western rights and liberties. Against this background, Muslim minorities have developed generally strong and stable religious identities. This paper asks when and how multicultural cities and ethnic communities give rise to strong and stable religion. Taking an approach from religious boundary making as a heuristic framework, we bring together a series of five studies on the religious identities of Muslim minorities. The studies compare religious group boundaries and replicate boundary making processes (cf. Wimmer, 2008) across ethnic communities and multicultural cities as comparative cases. Drawing on several large-scale surveys of Muslim minorities, our comparative findings illuminate the making and unmaking of religious boundaries. We conclude that strong religion is ‘made in Europe’ as institutional rigidities and social inequalities enforce religious boundary making through social closure and cultural maintenance within ethnic communities.

References

  1. Alba, R. (2005). Bright vs. blurred boundaries: Second-generation assimilation and exclusion in France, Germany, and the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(1), 20–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alwall, J. (2000). Religious liberty in Sweden: an overview. Journal of Church and State, 42(1), 147–171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bader, V. (2007). The governance of Islam in Europe: The perils of modelling. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(6), 871–886.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Barth, F. (1969). Ethnic groups and boundaries. The social organization of cultural difference. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bauböck, R. (1998). The crossing and blurring of boundaries in international migration. Challenges for social and political theory. Pp. 17–52 in R. Bauböck & J. Rundell (Eds.), Blurred Boundaries: Migration, Ethnicity, Citizenship. Vienna: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Berry, J. W., Phinney, J. S., Sam, D. L., & Vedder, P. (2006). Immigrant youth: acculturation, identity, and adaptation. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 55(3), 303–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Crul, M., Schneider, J., & Lelie, F. (eds.) (2012). The European second generation compared. Does the integration context matter? Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Connor, P. (2010). Contexts of immigrant receptivity and immigrant religious outcomes: the case of Muslims in Western Europe. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(3), 376–403.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Connor, P., & Koenig, M. (2013). Bridges and barriers: religion and immigrant occupational attainment across integration contexts. International Migration Review, 47(1), 3–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Dagevos, J., Gijsberts, M., Kappelhof, J., & Vervoort, M. (2007). Survey Integratie Minderheden 2006. The Hague: SCP.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Dassetto, F. (1996). La construction de l’islam européen. Paris: L’Harmattan.

    Google Scholar 

  12. De Koning, M. (2008). Zoeken naar een ‘Zuivere’ Islam. Religieuze Beleving en Identiteitsvorming van Marokkaans-Nederlandse Moslims. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.

    Google Scholar 

  13. De Valk, H., & Liefbroer, A. (2007). Parental influence on union formation preferences among Turkish, Moroccan, and Dutch adolescents in the Netherlands. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38(4), 487–505.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Doomernik, J. (1995). The institutionalization of Turkish Islam in Germany and the Netherlands: a comparison. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 18(1), 46–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ebaugh, H. R., & Chafetz, J. S. (2000). Religion and the new immigrants. Continuities and adaptations in immigrant congregations. Walnut Creek (CA): AltaMira.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Eid, P. (2007). Being Arab: Ethnic and religious identity building among second generation youth in Montreal (Vol. 22). Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Fetzer, J. S., & Soper, J. C. (2005). Muslims and the state in Britain, France, and Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Fleischmann, F., & Phalet, K. (2012). Integration and religiosity among the Turkish second generation in Europe: a comparative analysis across four capital cities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(2), 320–341.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Foblets, M.-C., & Overbeeke, A. (2002). State intervention in the institutionalisation of Islam in Belgium. In W. A. R. Shadid & S. Van Koningsveld (Eds.), Religious freedom and the neutrality of the state: The position of Islam in the European Union (pp. 113–128). Leuven: Peeters.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Foner, N., & Alba, R. (2008). Immigrant religion in the U.S. and Western Europe: Bridge or barrier to inclusion? International Migration Review, 42(2), 360–392.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gans, H. J. (1994). Symbolic ethnicity and symbolic religiosity: towards a comparison of ethnic and religious acculturation. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 17(4), 577–592.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Groeneveld, S., & Weijers-Martens, Y. (2003). Minderheden in beeld: SPVA-02. Rotterdam: ISEO.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Güngör, D., Fleischmann, F., & Phalet, K. (2011). Religious identification, beliefs, and practices among Turkish Belgian and Moroccan Belgian Muslims: Intergenerational continuity and acculturative change. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(8), 1356–1374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Heath, A., Rothon, C., & Kilpi, E. (2008). The Second Generation in Western Europe: Education, unemployment and occupational attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 211–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Khosrokhavar, F. (1997). L’islam des jeunes. Paris: Flammarion.

    Google Scholar 

  26. King, P. E., Furrow, J. L., & Roth, N. H. (2002). The influence of family and peers on adolescent religiousness. The Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 21, 109–120.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Koenig, M. (2007). Europeanising the governance of religious diversity: An institutionalist account of Muslim struggles for public recognition. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(6), 911–932.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Kwak, K. (2003). Adolescents and their parents: a review of intergenerational family relations for immigrant and non-immigrant families. Human Development, 46(2/3), 115–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Lamont, M. (2000). The dignity of working men: Morality and the boundaries of race, class, and immigration. Harvard University Press.

  30. Lamont, M., & Molnár, V. (2002). The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 167–195.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lijphart, A. (1968). The politics of accommodation: pluralism and democracy in the Netherlands. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Maliepaard, M., & Gijsberts, M. (2012) Moslim in Nederland 2012. The Hague: Netherlands Institute for Social Research.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Maliepaard, M., Gijsberts, M. & Lubbers, M. (2012). Reaching the limits of secularization? Turkish- and Moroccan-Dutch Muslims in the Netherlands 1998–2006. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(2), 359–367.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Maliepaard, M. & Lubbers, M. (2013). Parental religious transmission after migration: The case of Dutch Muslims. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(3): 425–442.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Maliepaard, M. & Phalet, K. (2012). Social integration and religious identity expression among Dutch Muslims: The role of minority and majority group contact. Social Psychology Quarterly, 75(2), 131–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Martens, E. P. (1999). Minderheden in beeld: de SPVA-g8. Amsterdam: Veldkamp.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Martinovic, B., & Verkuyten, M. (2012). Host national and religious identification among Turkish Muslims in Western Europe: The role of ingroup norms, perceived discrimination and value incompatibility. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42(7), 893–903.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Maussen, M. (2007). The governance of Islam in Western Europe: A state of the art report: IMISCOE.

  39. Myers, S. M. (1996). An interactive model of religiosity inheritance: The importance of family context. American Sociological Review, 61(5), 858–866.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Pew Forum (2011). The future of the global Muslim population. Projections for 2010–2030. Washington D.C.: Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Phalet, K., Fleischmann, F., & Stojčić, S. (2012). Ways of ‘being Muslim’: Religious identities of second-generation Turks. In Crul, M., Schneider, J. & Lelie, F. (eds.), The European second generation compared: Does the integration context matter? Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Phalet, K., & Güngör, D. (2009). Cultural continuity and discontinuity in Turkish migrant families. In S. Bekman & A. Koç (eds), Cross-cultural perspectives on human development and family change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Phalet, K., & Heath, A. (2010). From Ethnic Boundaries to Ethnic Penalties: Urban Economies and the Turkish Second Generation. American Behavioral Scientist, 53(11), 1824–1850.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Raj, D. S. (2000). ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’: Promoting religious identity among young Hindus in Britain. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(3), 535–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Rath, J., Penninx, R., Groenendijk, K., & Meijer, A. (1996). Nederland en zijn islam. Een ontzuilende samenleving reageert op het ontstaan van een geloofsgemeenschap Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Regnerus, M. D., Smith, C., & Smith, B. (2004). Social context in the development of adolescent religiosity. Applied Developmental Science, 8(1), 27–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Schiffauer, W. (2000). Die Gottesmänner. Frankfurt a/M: Suhrkampf.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Schmidt, G. (2011). Understanding and approaching Muslim visibilities: Lessons from a fieldwork-based study of Muslims in Copenhagen. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(7), 1216–1229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Sniderman, P. M., & Hagendoorn, L. (2007). When ways of life collide. Multiculturalism and its discontents in the Netherlands. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Statham, P., Koopmans, R., Giugni, M., & Passy, F. (2005). Resilient or adaptable Islam? Multiculturalism, religion and migrants’ claims-making for group demands in Britain, the Netherlands and France. Ethnicities, 5(4), 427–549.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Swyngedouw, M., Phalet, K., Baysu, G., Vandezande, V., & Fleischmann, F. (2008). Technical Report TIES 2007–2008 Belgium — Extended. Trajectories and Experiences of Turkish, Moroccan and Native Belgians in Antwerp and Brussels. Leuven: CeSo/CSCP.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Van Tubergen, F., & Sindradóttir, J. Í. (2011). The Religiosity of Immigrants in Europe: A Cross-National Study. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(2), 272–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Voas, D. & Fleischmann, F. (2012). Islam moves West: Religious change in the first and second generation. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 525–545.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Werbner, P. (2000). Divided loyalties, empowered citizenship? Muslims in Britain. Citizenship Studies, 4(3), 307–324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Wimmer, A. (2008). Elementary strategies of ethnic boundary making. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(6), 1025–1055.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Ysseldyk, R., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2010). Religiosity as identity: toward an understanding of religion from a social identity perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14(1), 60–71.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Karen Phalet.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Phalet, K., Maliepaard, M., Fleischmann, F. et al. The Making and Unmaking of Religious Boundaries. CMS 1, 123–145 (2013). https://doi.org/10.5117/CMS2013.1.PHAL

Download citation

Keywords

  • boundary making
  • religion
  • Islam
  • Europe
  • second generation
  • cultural maintenance