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Religious migration and racial borders — African evangelical churches in Europe





Since several years now, France has witnessed a proliferation of studies on post-colonial migration, whose empirical and critical inputs, despite considerable controversy and resistance, are undoubtedly a major scientific turning point. At the same time, a field of study on African Churches in Europe has been developing for some 15 years, in a relatively peripheral way, although at a fast pace. Beyond the diversity of religious configurations observed, major trends emerge to the point of forming a field of study in its own right, defined by the national origin of the actors (sub-Saharan Africans) and by their religious practices (referring to evangelical, charismatic and/or pentecomistist Christianity). However, on closer inspection, it seems that these debates are taking a particular shape in the French context, given the permanence of categories which tend to racial, not to say pathologise, the attachment to origin, defending the hypothesis of racial religious identities. A thesis that we will see is the result of ethnicisation of socio-religious dynamics, thanks to a de-contextualisation of the advent of these religious forms, on the one hand, and the evacuation of any post-colonial reflexivity on the racial status of global society, on the other.

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