Migration and Redefining Self

Negotiating Religious Identity among Hazara Women in Germany

in Anthropology of the Middle East
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  • 1 Assistant Professor, Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Tehran, Iran saidi@iscs.ac.ir
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Abstract

This article explores how Afghan (Hazara) women negotiate and sift their religious understandings and identities over time after migrating to Germany. Migration experiences and exposure to German society has impacted their self-narration and conceptualisation of cultural change in their own identity. This ethnographic research illustrates the notion of acceptance or rejection to change among Hazara immigrant women in their lived religion in diaspora. Based on my fieldwork, three different trajectories along religious lines occur in the Afghan diaspora: a group of immigrants, enhancing Islamic values, whose relationship to and involvement in religion intensified and increased; the second group largely consider themselves secular Muslims trying to fully indulge into the new society; the third group has an elastic religious identity, blending Islamic values with Western-inspired lifestyles.

Contributor Notes

Saideh Saidi is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Tehran, Iran. She received her PhD in Anthropology and Cultural Studies from the University of Bremen. She teaches at Shahid Beheshti University and the University of Science and Culture in cultural anthropology, sociology of international migration and rural sociology. Recent publications include Juggling between Two Worlds: Sociocultural Change in Afghan Immigrant Women's Identity in Germany (2018). Her research interests include the relation between international migration and Afghan family dynamics and their identity through the anthropological lens in two main receiving countries in Europe (Germany) and Asia (Iran). Email: saidi@iscs.ac.ir

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