Christian Migrant Communities

Transnational, Transcultural, and Translocal Discourses of Change

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
Tomas Sundnes Drønen VID Specialized University Misjonsmarka 12, 4024 Stavanger Norway

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The growing literature on religion and migration offers a wide range of terminologies in order to describe different aspects of the migratory trajectory. The article analyses how the three terms “transnational”, “transcultural”, and “translocal” are applied by different scholars in order to describe how religion influences and frames the experiences of those who leave their homes behind. It is further argued that discourse analysis can be a helpful methodological and analytical approach towards the field under study in order to engage with the rich variety of sources which might help us develop a yet more finely tuned analysis of the new religious communities. With the object of exemplifying how discourse analysis can be applied in future studies, the article gives examples from three different contexts where religious practices face change due to the migratory situation. The first example proposes studies of the “simultaneity aspect” in transnational studies among Nigerian migrants in Europe. The second example highlights how translocal aspects influence the study of ethnicity among migrants to cities in northern Cameroon, and the third example focuses on transcultural aspects of historical conversion narratives.

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