H. C. R. VilaÃ§a, E. Pace, I. Furseth and P. Pettersson, eds., The Changing
Soul of Europe: Religions and Migrations in Northern and Southern
Europe. Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014. Pp. xiv,
265. Hb. Â£65. ISBN 978-1-4724-3469-2.
This timely volume, edited by four sociologists of religion, explores
transformations in the European religious landscape brought about by
immigration. The central question that it seeks to answer is: â€˜what are
the implications of newcomers for the religious life of Europe and for the
redesign of its soul?â€™ (p. 5).
The book has two parts. The first focuses on theories and methodologies relating to religion and migration. Enzo Paceâ€™s chapter draws on
social system theory and a metaphor of the â€˜four Knights of the Apocalyseâ€™
(p. 11) to explore how religion and migration â€“ considered together â€“ are
bringing about change in European societies and societal structures.
While pointing to the heterogeneity of the relationships between religion
and migration, Madureira Pinto argues that religion mostly acts to
produce conformity to the status quo. Tuomas Martikainen assesses the
role played by the welfare state in the settlement process of immigrant
religions, pointing out that the varied assumptions of different European
welfare systems affect whether religious organisations concerned with
immigration are focused more on social service provision, worship and
community or connections with public authorities.
The second section â€“ which was more engaging to read â€“ presents
a range of fascinating qualitative and quantitative studies of particular
national contexts, immigrant groups and religious traditions. Two
chapters explore the role played by major Churches in southern Europe
â€“ the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and the Roman Catholic Church
in Portugal â€“ in the management of migration processes and response
to migrants. In both cases, these Churchesâ€™ complex relationships to
their states and the religious-ethnic identities of migrants affect their
Modern Believing 58.4 2017