The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Migration, Ethnicity, Religion and Belonging
The Migration, Ethnicity, Religion and Belonging (MERB) cluster provides a home for the exciting and varied research on issues of migration and belonging - as typified by current studies on race, ethnicity, religion and space occurring within and beyond SSPSSR. Employing a range of theoretical and methodological approaches and substantive foci, members of MERB are united by a shared interest in the ‘external’ socio-cultural and political environments in which racial, citizenship, and state/geographic identities and opportunities are constructed. We also share interests in the ‘internal’ environments of community, family and embodied capacities/identities through which individuals and groups resist and act creatively upon these horizons of constraint and possibility. This dual view is also reflected by research on the tensions between the ‘public’ and ‘private’ and how these both shape and are shaped by the dynamics of religious identity in the UK and beyond.
Current research on race and ethnicity (e.g. on the ‘second generation’ or ‘mixed race’) explores how individuals develop identities through strategies of adaptation, integration and mobilization. Other projects investigate political transnationalism, global marriage as a migration stream, and the experiences of immigration detainees in the UK. Ongoing analyses in belonging and religion explore the links between formal and substantive citizenship, and the sense of feeling ‘at home’ within the nation-state or in specific ethnic or gendered communities. Central here is, a) interest in the increased significance of religion as a resource of belonging, and its relevance to transnational identities and welfare systems (with Europe and the Middle East being a key focus), b) a focus on relations of proximity, distance and belonging in co-present and virtual space, and c) theoretical analyses of embodiment as a foundation of identity and meaning-making cultural and religious practices.
The MERB cluster is active at the Canterbury, Medway and Brussels campuses of the University of Kent.