• Religious Organisations as Political Actors in the Context of Migration: Islam and Orthodoxy in Austria

    • Julia Mourao Permoser
    • Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Sieglinde Rosenberger
    • Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna
    • Kristina Stoeckl
    • Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna
  • This paper investigates how immigration and concerns over integration are changing established modes of cooperation between church and state in Austria. Focusing on the relationship between officially recognised Muslim and Eastern Orthodox organisations and the state, we examine how the mounting politicisation of immigrant integration has led the state to collaborate with minority religious organisations as representatives of immigrants and is increasing the opportunities for such religious groups to be visible and express voice in the public sphere. Based on interviews, policy documents and literature, we analyse how the modes of cooperation between religious organisations and the state are moving from a narrow and institutionalised collaboration on policy issues exclusively related to religion to a broader but more fluid and uncertain form of symbolic cooperation. We argue that, within this modified setting, recognised minority religious organisations are gradually assuming the function of political entrepreneurs who speak for the entire immigrant community. This, in turn, creates tensions within and between religious groups, and risks overstating religion as a factor in the integration of immigrants. Our comparison between Muslim and Eastern Orthodox religious organisations shows that, notwithstanding the greater salience of Islam, they both benefit from the new role of religion in integration issues.

  • Request a Copy

  • http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:301083

  • Article

  • Published Version

  • 2010

  • 36

  • 1463-1481

  • Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

  • English

  • Restricted access

  • 1369-183X