Lived religion and social mobility among migrants in Sweden

A research project within the research program migration and integration.

Project leader: Daniel Enstedt External link.

Period: 2020-2024

Seat of learning: Göteborgs universitet

Project title: Lived religion and social mobility among migrants in Sweden


What is the project about?

The research project examines the role of lived religion for social mobility and integration among three religious migrant groups in Sweden: Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians. Limited social mobility and segregation bring about a number of negative consequences for society and individuals such as health-related issues, social isolation, inequality, unemployment, and increased segregation.

In relation to these issues, the project scrutinizes the role of lived religion among migrants in two regions in Sweden: in Angered, located in the northeastern parts of Gothenburg, and in Karlstad. This project makes use of ethnographic fieldwork (interviews and participant observation), a mapping study and a quantitative survey about participants’ social networks. Starting in 2020, for four years the study will be conducted by two established researchers within the field of lived religion and migration, involved in a dynamic national and international research environment with specialists in the fields of religion, migration, and integration.

The results of the project will be discussed and analyzed in light of previous research and theories about religion, social mobility, social capital, intersectionality, and integration. By anchoring the field study in contrasting regional contexts (Karlstad and Angered), and applying new interdisciplinary and theoretical perspectives, the project contributes to international research on migrants’ religiosity, social mobility, and integration.

Research questions

In the project Lived Religion and Social Mobility among Migrants in Sweden, a couple of interrelated case studies combining qualitative and quantitative methods will aim to shed light on religion’s diverse roles in the context of migration in Sweden.The general research question is: What impact do religion, religious practices, and religious beliefs have on integration and social mobility in a migrant situation? This question also generates several other research questions that will be addressed within the framework of the project.These questions concern migrants’ lived religion, personal social networks, and life situations in Sweden, as well as their commitment to and involvement in religious contexts and the effect of their religious practices on social mobility. Whether migrants’ religious affiliations, beliefs, and practices contribute to or counteract segregation, their social mobility, possibilities to integrate in society remains an open question. By relating the migrants’ religious practices, experiences, and life stories to global, social, and religious changes, the project aims to clarify the importance of religion for segregation and integration.Overall, the project will contribute knowledge about specific aspects of how lived religion affects social mobility, segregation, and integration.

Project participants

  • University of Gothenburg
  • Karlstad University

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