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Date: 2024
Date: 2023
Abstract: This article explores the relationship between marriage and conversion from a critical gender perspective, based on a comparative ethnographic study of women’s conversion to Judaism, Islam and Christianity in the Netherlands. In the study of religion and gender, a valuable conceptual framework developed that questions the limited representation of religious women (as somehow ‘oppressed’) and recognises agency within observance. However, up to now, theories and conceptualisations of female conversion have not been able to successfully deal with the tension between individual agency and relationality, more concretely: between individual choice and the impact of intimate relationships. This article suggests a framework more capable of grasping the complexities of conversion and marriage, by introducing the concept of mixedness. In this approach, relationships are understood as agential spaces of religious becoming. Conversion forms and reforms what is ‘mixed’ within a relationship, and intimate relationships indeed play an important role in religious becoming. The goal is to move beyond the binary options that women seem to have to vocalise their process: either they convert because of someone else (implying less agency) or their religious transformation is an expression of autonomous, individual choice (neglecting the impact of relationships). Mixedness highlights the dynamic and fluid aspects of intimate relationships, whilst simultaneously focusing on the interactions between the couples’ experiences of mixedness and social norms of majority and minority religio-racial groups.
Author(s): Gross, Martine
Date: 2016
Abstract: Les travaux sélectionnés pour cette thèse de sociologie (4 ouvrages et 14 articles ou chapitres de livre) explorent deux thématiques différentes : les familles homoparentales et le vécu de croyants homosexuels. En dépit de leur éloignement du modèle exclusif de la parenté, un père, une mère pas un de plus, les familles homoparentales inscrivent leurs enfants dans une chaîne de transmission parentale, tant culturelle que généalogique. De même, les croyants homosexuels adhèrent aux valeurs de leur appartenance religieuse même s'ils contestent la légitimité de l'autorité institutionnelle de l'Eglise ou des rabbins. Dans les deux cas, il y a à la fois ébranlement de la norme et adhésion à un modèle légèrement différent, plus inclusif. Les homosexuels deviennent parents en élargissant les représentations de la parenté. Les homosexuels croyants parviennent à intégrer leurs dimensions identitaires antagonistes en se tournant vers des églises ou des communautés plus accueillantes ou en réinterprétant les textes problématiques. Dans l'un et l'autre cas, ils contribuent à construire des modèles compatibles avec les formes nouvelles de la famille et de la socialité religieuse. Les travaux sélectionnés pour cette thèse montrent que la réunion de dimensions a priori inconciliables -homosexualité et famille, homosexualité et religion - conduit à des innovations sociales non seulement à l'échelle individuelle, mais aussi à l'échelle sociale. Les institutions, qu'il s'agisse du droit de la famille ou des autorités religieuses ne peuvent rester complètement imperméables aux évolutions sociologiques auxquelles les expériences individuelles les confrontent.
Date: 2021
Abstract: Taking traditional communities as exemplifiers of 'tradition-in-action', this thesis is based on semi-structured interviews and observations with Amish communities in the United States and a Jewish community in the United Kingdom. This research challenges antithetical notions of inert tradition versus a fluid, dynamic modernity within sociological literature, which has a tendency to posit tradition as temporally and spatially outside of modernity. Drawing on literatures that intersect sociological disciplines, particularly community studies, religion, diasporas, tradition and theories of contemporary (late/liquid) modernity (Giddens, 1991; Bauman, 2000), it explores ways in which these Amish and Jewish communities - described here as religion-oriented diasporic communities - negotiate the fluid conditions of contemporary modernity. It asks questions about what these negotiations reveal about the nature of contemporary modernity and how shedding new light on community boundaries, belonging and practices helps us to rethink and challenge prevailing meanings of community under contemporary conditions. Through the findings, the research asserts that rather than being fixed, these communities exhibit varied communal boundaries, from non-negotiable to fluid, as well as fluctuating and contingent levels of belonging and socially situated practices and narratives that adaptively reproduce community to enable communal thriving. In so doing, it explores themes such as boundary-keeping processes, the appeal of embedding and the social/kinship networks that comprise community and form a basis for 'doing' community together. This research project makes methodological contributions, reflecting on the 'insider/outsider' researcher positionality, as well as cultural and logistical considerations with harder-to-access communities. Though these case studies are not intended to provide direct or simple 'like for like' comparison, themes emerging from both case studies highlight the multi-layered nature of belonging to communities conceptualised as traditional in a fluid, ever-changing modernity, effectively siting such communities and modernity as inseparable and co-constitutive.
Date: 2020
Author(s): Harris, Margaret
Date: 1994
Abstract: This thesis is about the work and organisation of local religious congregations in England. It focuses on the congregation of two religions- Christianity and Judaism; that is, on 'churches' and 'synagogues'. In Chapter One, the study is positioned within the academic field of social policy and administration. Chapters Two, Three and Four review literature on the historical and societal context within which churches and synagogues operate, the role of religious functionaries and organisational features of congregations. Four organisational themes cutting across denominational and religious boundaries are identified: purposes and goals; roles and role relationships; organisational change; and denominational institutions. Chapter Five develops an approach for an empirical study and gives an account of fieldwork in an inner-city Roman Catholic church; a black-led Pentecostal church in an industrial town; an Anglican church on a housing estate; and a suburban Reform synagogue. Organisational features of the four case congregations are presented in Chapter Six. In the following four chapters the organisational issues which arise in the Congregations are described and analysed. Chapter Seven presents the perceived Issues in congregations around setting and implementing goals. Chapter Eight looks at clerical roles and Chapter Nine at the roles of lay employees and volunteers. Chapter Ten discusses organisational change, the links between congregations and their denominational institutions, and organisational structures. Finally, in Chapter Eleven, the study findings are drawn together and re-examined in the light of the earlier literature. The way in which the case studies elucidate and develop knowledge about the work and organisation of congregations is discussed. It is suggested that further progress towards the development of theory on congregation organisation could be made by conceptualising congregations as voluntary organisations.
Author(s): Rüthers, Monica
Date: 2014
Abstract: Jews and Gypsies are marginal men in the cultural topographies of Europe. During the past 25 years, both minorities underwent a process of festivalization. Jewish Culture Festivals and Klezmer music as well as Gypsy Music Festivals and Balkan Beats became highly popular. Jewish and Gypsy spaces were established and serve as tourist borderzones for the encounters of "Europeans" with their exoticized Other. A new European folklore emerges, successfully blending kitsch and terror, remembrance and the romanticized nomadism of post-modern lifestyles. Two case studies of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kazimierz and the Gypsy pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer reveal telling asymmetries. After 1989, the imaginary Jews were located in the former Jewish districts of Central European cities such as Cracow, Prague and Budapest or Czernowitz. The Holocaust became the foundation of a common European culture of remembrance, a new European tradition. Gypsies are revered as musicians, yet reviled as people. The very same regions of Jewish encoded "Central Europe" shifted eastward on the mental maps as soon as the Roma were concerned. Europeans are in fear of a Roma "invasion" from the East. The European ambivalence towards its Others is symptomatic of a community striving to imagine itself. In this process, to have or have not a common European history plays a pivotal role. The imaginary Jews seem to embody a common multicultural "European" past, whilst the Roma "come from India". They are represented as belly-dancing Orientals and used for drawing boundaries excluding non-Europeans.
Date: 2015
Abstract: À travers un retour sur nos terrains ethnologiques respectifs, nous nous proposons de comprendre comment se construisent les espaces du culte dans les rapports de genre. Ces terrains sont situés dans la périphérie parisienne, à Sarcelles, qui a connu une concentration importante de « populations juives », émigrées d’Afrique du Nord, depuis une ou deux générations; à Marseille et dans sa périphérie, première région où les « populations musulmanes » émigrées se sont installées en métropole, qui aujourd’hui sont majoritairement d’origine maghrébine et comorienne. Mais ils sont essentiellement circonscrits par des pratiques juives et musulmanes qui peuvent être multisituées et plurielles davantage que par des sites particuliers.

Nous souhaitons entrer dans les rapports de genre autrement qu’à partir des rapports constitués, ceux qui attribuent, en particulier dans l’univers religieux, des places différentes aux hommes et aux femmes contribuant à construire des positions et des identifications sexuées, conscientes ou non. Nous interrogeons donc les positions affichées, montrant la dynamique des relations, des jeux, des non-dits, prenant en compte les interactions entre les deux positions sexuées. De même, tenant compte de la façon dont les sujets construisent l’espace du culte, nos contributions respectives portent sur une ethnologie du quotidien, privilégiant l’étude des interstices et des entre-deux établissant ainsi une comparaison entre nos deux terrains par l’analyse d’axes transversaux.
Nous entendons « espace du culte » au sens d’un espace, qui sans être nécessairement construit à cet effet, est cependant institué et clairement défini spatialement et temporellement. Nous ne restreignons pas l’espace du culte à celui de la synagogue ou de la mosquée, d’une part parce que les édifices officiels sont trop étroits pour contenir la masse des fidèles qui investissent d’autres lieux ; d’autre part, parce que dans le judaïsme, comme en islam, les femmes ne sont pas obligées de fréquenter les lieux de culte au même titre que les hommes. Nous analysons donc plusieurs types d’espace – intermédiaire, interstitiel, privé mais sacralisé par des rituels – ainsi que les modalités de leur investissement. Ceux qui sont officiellement dédiés au culte doivent leur caractère religieux à la pratique collective permettant au groupe de faire communauté le temps d’un office. Mais ces lieux sont investis aussi par des relations sociales profanes et marqués par une alternance de temps religieux et de temps ordinaires. La multifonctionnalité des espaces du culte induit des spatialités mobiles liées aux diverses temporalités. Les temporalités, dans les espaces du culte, alternent temps ordinaires et temps religieux. Il arrive que des interactions sociales liées aux temps ordinaires interviennent dans les temps religieux et inversement. Les temporalités ne sont donc pas fixes mais aussi fluctuantes que les espaces sont poreux.

Au delà des règles dogmatiques légiférant l’accès des observantes juives ou musulmanes aux espaces du culte et qui contribuent à assigner un statut différencié aux femmes, nous verrons que la position et les identifications sexuées se construisent aussi dans l’interaction à l’autre.

Dans cette contribution, nous n’avons pas cherché à neutraliser le genre des chercheures pas plus que celui des sujets. Les situations vécues ont des effets sur l’ethnologue qui l’amènent à négocier et reconstruire constamment sa posture. Elles sont décrites ici comme des situations interstitielles, « d’entre-deux » ; comme des révélateurs de la construction sociale des genres, d’enjeux de statuts et de pouvoir qui nous informent sur le contexte « minoritaire » de l’islam et du judaïsme dans la société laïque française.
Date: 2015
Date: 2003
Abstract: Background: Jewish culturally supported beliefs may discourage drinking and drunkenness as ways of socialising and coping with stress. Thus Jewish men under stress may be relatively more likely to become depressed, and less likely to use and abuse alcohol. This study is the first qualitative comparison of Jews and Protestants, men and women. It examines whether alcohol-related beliefs are consistent with the alcohol-depression hypothesis, i.e. that positive beliefs about alcohol use and effects are associated with high alcohol use and low depression.

Material and discussion: A thematic (interpretive phenomenological) analysis on open-ended question responses, from 70 Jews and 91 Protestants, and on semi-structured interviews with five Jews and four Protestants, identified three salient themes: the importance of retaining self-control; the pleasures of losing inhibitions; and the relations of alcohol-related behaviour to identity. Compared to Protestants, Jews described alcohol-related behaviour as threatening to self-control, loss of inhibition as unenjoyable and dangerous and distinguished between the kinds of drinking behaviours appropriate for Jews and others. Sub-themes for Protestant men were denial that drinking threatens self-control, and appropriateness of going to the pub.

Conclusions: The themes identified are not measurable using published research instruments. Alcohol-related behaviour may be a feature of Jewish identity. The beliefs identified are consistent with the alcohol-depression hypothesis.
Date: 2003
Author(s): Sapiro, Philip
Date: 2019
Abstract: Population researchers have contributed to the debate on minority group distribution and disadvantage and social cohesion by providing objective analysis. A plethora of new distribution measurement techniques have been presented in recent years, but they have not provided sufficient explanatory power of underlying trajectories to inform ongoing political debate. Indeed, a focus on trying to summarise complex situations with readily understood measures may be misplaced. This paper takes an alternative approach and asks whether a more detailed analysis of individual and environmental characteristics is necessary if researchers are to continue to provide worthwhile input to policy development. Using England and Wales as a test bed, it looks at four small sub-populations (circa 250,000 at the turn of the century) – two based on ethnic grouping: Bangladeshi and Chinese; and two based on an under-researched area of cultural background, religion: Jews and Sikhs. Despite major differences in longevity of presence in the UK, age profile, socio-economic progress, and levels of inter-marriage, there are, at a national level, parallels in the distribution patterns and trajectories for three of the groups. However, heterogeneity between and within the groups mean that at a local level, these similarities are confounded. The paper concludes that complex interactions between natural change and migration, and between suburbanisation and a desire for group congregation, mean that explanations for the trajectory of distribution require examination of data at a detailed level, beyond the scope of index-based methods. Such analyses are necessary if researchers are to effectively contribute to future policy development.
Author(s): Sapiro, Philip
Date: 2017
Abstract: Internal migration plays a key role in shaping the demographic characteristics of areas. In this paper, data from the 2011 England and Wales census are used to assess the geographic patterns of migration for 4 small cultural groups that each constitute about 0.5% of the population—Arabs, Chinese, Jews, and Sikhs—with a White British “benchmark” group. It examines the sensitivity of the scale of intercommunity moves to distance, having controlled for other migrant characteristics, through the development of spatial interaction models. The analysis finds that, where a choice exists, Jews are more averse to making a longer move than other small groups, all of whom favour shorter moves than the White British. The paper also investigates the influence of origin location and socioeconomic characteristics on the choice of migration destination using multinomial logistic regression. It finds that the influence of student status, age, qualifications, and home tenure vary by group though a number of patterns are shared between groups. Finally, it probes the presence in these smaller groups of patterns found historically in the wider population, such as counter‐urbanisation. Overall, this paper broadens the understanding of minority group migration patterns by examining, for the first time, Arabs (identified separately only in the 2011 census) and 2 groups based on religion (Jews and Sikhs) and by revisiting, with new questions, the White British and Chinese groups using the latest census data.
Date: 2000
Date: 2001
Date: 2018