Maurizio Ambrosini, Paola Bonizzoni, Samuele Davide Molli

Immigrants’ informal welfare. Ethnic churches and social inclusion processes in Milan

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Immigrants’ informal welfare. Ethnic churches and social inclusion processes in Milan

In Italy, over the last decades, migration flows have generated an unprecedented religious pluralism. However, the phenomenon is still neglected within migration studies. Moreover, the over-representation of Islam as empirical focus has limited the field of research compared to the complexity of religious scenario, and migrants’ religions have often become a controversial issue in terms of integration. In this direction, the paper analyses six different experiences of ethnic-Christianity in the city of Milan. It investigates the dynamics of help and assistance activated internally, a supportive network we call an informal welfare. After a discussion on religious social capital at the basis of cooperation among members, we analyse the types of resources shared within the churches: from emotional and psychological support to material help, including assistance for family needs and transnational solidarity practices. By confronting six case studies- three Catholics and three Protestants- the article highlights their role as key providers of welfare, adding new stimuli to the debate on religion and migration.

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