Modern Believing

BOOK REVIEWS

Modern Believing (2017), 58, (4), 393–446.

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS H. C. R. Vilaça, 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. £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: ‘what are the implications of newcomers for the religious life of Europe and for the redesign of its soul?’ (p. 5). The book has two parts. The first focuses on theories and methodologies relating to religion and migration. Enzo Pace’s chapter draws on social system theory and a metaphor of the ‘four Knights of the Apocalyse’ (p. 11) to explore how religion and migration – considered together – 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 – which was more engaging to read – 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 – the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal – in the management of migration processes and response to migrants. In both cases, these Churches’ complex relationships to their states and the religious-ethnic identities of migrants affect their Modern Believing 58.4 2017 doi: https://doi.org/10.3828/mb.2017.26

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