Homo Religiosus? Religion and Immigrant Subjectivities

  • David LeyEmail author
  • Justin Tse


Once ignored in national and international public policy, religion has made a comeback as policymakers have noticed the significance of the resurgence of religion, especially due to migration flows. While laudatory of these developments, this chapter specifies the need for a theological reading of the migrant religious practitioner as homo religiosus. First, we describe the social geographies of immigrant religion in an international context, drawing attention to the vibrancy of religious devotion, especially Christianity from the global south, among migrant groups. Second, we re-conceptualise religious belief through the theoretical work of John Milbank and Charles Taylor as they recuperate a theological reading of religion that is cautious in imposing secular categories on religious phenomena. Third, we perform an interpretive experiment on immigrant churches through Victor Turner’s hermeneutics of the stranger, arguing that a theological interpretation of migrant religions, including those of some social and economic means, demonstrates that they often comprise a liminal ‘church of the poor’. We contribute to the geography of religion with a call to conceptualise religious belief and practice by ways that draw out the inner logics of such phenomena instead of imposing foreign theoretical categories on them.


Religious Practice Religious Experience Global South Religious Phenomenon Global North 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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