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Forced Migration and Emergent Identities in a Networked Age

A Case Study of Mass Conversion among Muslim Refugees to Christianity

This project investigates the centrality of religion in refugees' integration into German society, focusing on the controversy of recent mass conversions of Muslim refugees to Christianity. These conversions reveal the complexity of cultural and religious encounters within highly asymmetrical relations of power established through German political and media discourse. The data for this project is attained through ethnographic interviews and participant observation in churches and communities, as well as through social media analysis.

Conversion is analyzed as a product of the refugees' renegotiation of personal histories, socioeconomic statuses, and spiritualties in light of forced migration and fragmented identities.The linguistic and ritual background acquired through baptism courses merges with refugees' dispositions and then develops further in networked online and offline environments.

The goal of the project is to treat the socio-political, the religious, and the technological as interlinked categories in the construction of a Christian identity in order to reveal mediating processes at play in the integration of refugees into German society through conversions and in general.