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Religion and Transnational Social Support

Who we are

The working group „Religion“ is the latest addition to the TSS group of research teams, founded in summer 2013. Religion emerged as a relevant topic within the Research Training Group “Transnational Social Support” and we formed this working group in response. The group is open to researchers from any institution .Already we have a multi-disciplinary group of highly motivated researchers: PhD students, Post-Docs and established academics who have a shared interest in religion and transnationalism and its different characteristics and manifestations within that context. The working group is a platform for joint activities as well as a forum for sharing information and developing ideas with peers.

What we are up to

The group’s main concern is to research the connection between religion and transnationalism, a wide field which one can break down into two main divisions.
The first division deals with the analysis of religion as a side-effect of migration. Research questions include how migrants and/or their descendants maintain or intensify their religious beliefs, practices and identities, how these are re-explored or newly adapted in the country of settlement.
Religious reorientation is one of the main research topics of Soon-won Jung. She analyses the life courses of Confucian Korean women who migrated as nurses to Germany. After arrival some of them adopted the Christian religion, motivated by their need to overcome various hardships in a foreign country. 
As results of migration research show, these phenomena are closely linked to the fact that religious affiliation, for people who live in culturally foreign environments, either voluntarily or by force,, becomes a very important source of social capital, identity and self-positioning (Lauser/Weißköppel 2008: 9).
The second division focuses on Religion as the main reason for migration. This can be the case for many groups of refugees, such as the Tibetan Diaspora in Exile studied by Leonie Wetzel. Another projects exemplifying this focus are the study by  Hanna Rettig on membership in a Christian missionary organization or Yvonne Bach’s project about an international Buddhist Healthcare organisation. In both projects, religion is the main reason for people to participate in border-crossing activities. The projects of Lucia Artner and Andreas Wagner both point out that this holds true also for transnational development NGOs who have a Christian outlook and whose religion often tends to be a foundation of their cooperation with other (Christian) NGOs worldwide.


If you are interested in our projects or if you want to share ideas or information, please get in touch with us: