Domestication of Difference: Practices of Civic Engagement among Middle Eastern Christians in Denmark
Keywords:Ghassan Hage, domestication, Denmark, Coptic Christians, Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Christians
This article employs Hage’s concept of “domestication” as a lens for understanding how various forms of civic engagement among Coptic, Assyrian, and Chaldean Christian migrant communities in Denmark reproduce and contest a Danish model of citizenship, a particular construction of both the national subject and its Others. While churches are a primary place for civic engagement among Middle Eastern Christians as an ethnoreligious group, internally in the communities three modalities of civic engagement—serving, committing, and consuming—are practiced. Each produces different manifestations of citizenship because they engage with the local, national, and transnational differently. Christians of Middle Eastern origin are not publicly visible as political or activist groups as they, along with other immigrant groups, are expected to immerse themselves into the Danish model where ethnic and cultural differences are acknowledged but disregarded of their original context and its power relations.
Akademiet for Migrationsstudier i Danmark. Integrationsforskningen i Danmark 1980-2002. Copenhagen: Ministeriet for Flygtninge, Indvandrere og Integration, 2002.
Beaumont, Justin and Paul Cloke, “Introduction to the Study of Faith-Based Organizations and Exclusion in European Cities.” In Faith-Based Organizations and Exclusion in European Cities, edited by Justin Beaumont and Paul Cloke. Chicago, IL: Polity Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt9qgpz8.
Berlinske, “Dobbelt statsborgerskab kan føre til flere udvisninger af kriminell.” 2014. Accessed 20 April 2015, https://www.berlingske.dk/politik/dobbelt-statsborgerskab-kan-foere-til-flere-udvisninger-af-kriminelle .
Christoffersen, Lisbet and Niels Valdemar Vinding. Danish Regulation of Religion, State of Affairs and Qualitative Reflections: A Report on 20 Qualitative Elite Interviews. Copenhagen: Centre for European Islamic Thought, Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen, 2012.
Danmarks Statistik. “FOLK2: Folketal 1. januar efter køn, alder, herkomst, oprindelsesland og statsborgerskab.” Statistikbanken. Accessed 13 November 2020. https://www.statistikbanken.dk/statbank5a/default.asp?w=1097.
Danmarks Statistik. Indvandrere i Danmark 2019. Copenhagen: Danmarks Statistik, 2019), 17, 20. www.dst.dk/publ/indvandrereidk.
Davie, Grace. “Is Europe an Exceptional Case?” International Review of Mission 95 (2006): 247–58.
El-Khawaga, Dina. “The Laity at the Heart of the Coptic Clerical Reform.” In Between Desert and City: The Coptic Orthodox Church Today, edited by Nelly van Doorn-Harder and Kari Vogt. Oslo: The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture/Novus Forlag, 1997.
El-Matari, Salah. “Tre migrantkirker om homoseksualitet, abort og kvindelige præster.” Kristeligt Dagblad. 5 September 2013. https://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/kirke-tro/tre-migrantkirker-om-homoseksualitet-abort-og-kvindelige-pr%C3%A6ster.
Elander, Ingemar, Charlotte Fridolfsson, and Eva Gustavsson. “Swedish Muslims and Secular Society: Faith-Based Engagement and Place.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 26, no. 2 (2012): 145–63. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1013324.
Fennema, Meindert and Jean Tillie. “Political Participation and Political Thrust in Amsterdam: Civic Communities and Ethnic Networks.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25, no. 4 (1999): 703–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.1999.9976711.
Galal, Lise Paulsen. “Between Representation and Subjectivity: Interreligious Dialogue in Denmark.” Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society 6, no. 2 (2020): 449–72.
Galal, Lise Paulsen. “Copts in Diaspora: Transnational Belonging as ‘Home’ is Changing.” In Border Terrains: World Diasporas in the 21st Century, edited by Allyson Eamer, 85–94. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1163/9781848881174_009.
Galal, Lise Paulsen. “ ‘If I Want to Travel, I just Travel,’ Travels and Dwellings among Assyrians and Copts in Denmark.” In Middle Eastern Christians and Europe: Historical Legacies and Present Challenges, edited by Andreas Schmoller, 125–45. .Vienna: LIT Verlag, 2018.
Galal, Lise Paulsen, Alistair Hunter, Fiona McCallum, Sara Lei Sparre, and Marta Wozniak-Bobinska. “Middle Eastern Christian Spaces in Europe: Multi-sited and Super-diverse.” Journal of Religion in Europe 9, no. 1 (2016): 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1163/18748929-00901002.
Gullestad, Marianne. “Invisible Fences: Egalitarianism, Nationalism and Racism.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 8, no. 1 (2002): 45–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.00098.
Hage, Ghassan. “The Spatial Imaginary of National Practices: Dwelling – Domesticated/Being – Exterminating.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 14 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1068/d140463.
Huggan, Graham. The Postcolonial Exotic. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.
Jöhncke, Steffen. “Integrating Denmark: the Welfare State as a Nation(alist) Accomplishment.” In The Question of Integration: Immigration, Exclusion, and the Danish Welfare State, edited by Karen Fog Olwig and Karsten Paerregaard, 30–53. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.
Joppke, Christian. “Transformation of Citizenship: Status, Rights, Identity.” Citizenship Studies 11, no. 1 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1080/13621020601099831.
Jørgensen, Signe Kjær. “Interviewet og hvad så? En kritisk analyse af Asmaa Abdol-Hamids betingelser for selvfremstilling.” Tidsskrift for Islamforskning – Islam og minoriteter 2 (2010). https://doi.org/10.7146/tifo.v4i2.24597.
Justitsministeriet, “Regeringen indgår bred aftale om dobbelt statsborgerskab.” 2014. Accessed 8 January 2021. https://www.justitsministeriet.dk/pressemeddelelse/regeringen-indgaar-bred-aftale-om-dobbelt-statsborgerskab/.
Lov om trossamfund uden for folkekirken (Law on Religious Communities outside Folk Churches). Law no 1533, 19/12/2017. https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/r0710.aspx?id=196402.
Ministry of Housing and Migration. “Statsborgerskab.” Accessed 22 January 2020. https://uim.dk/arbejdsomrader/statsborgerskab.
Mouritsen, Per and Tore Vincents Olsen. “Denmark Between Liberalism and Nationalism.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36, no. 4 (2013): 691–710. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2011.598233.
Olwig, Karen Fog. “Narratives of Home: Visions of ‘Betterment’ and Belonging in a Dispersed Caribbean Family.” In Caribbean Narratives of Belonging. Fields of Relations, Sites of Identity, edited by Jean Besson and Karen Fog Olwig, 189–205. Oxford: Macmillan Caribbean, 2005. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822389859.
Olwig, Karen Fog and Karsten Paerregaard. “Introduction: Strangers in the Nation.” In The Question of Integration: Immigration, Exclusion, and the Danish Welfare State, edited by Karen Fog Olwig and Karsten Paerregaard, 1–29. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.
Ong, Aiwa. “Cultural Citizenship as Subject-Making: Immigrants Negotiate Racial and Cultural Boundaries in the United States.” Current Anthropology 37, no. 5 (1996): 737–62. https://doi.org/10.1086/204560.
Orgad, Liav. “Naturalization.” In The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, edited by Ayelet Shachar, Rainer Bauböck, Irene Bloemraad, and Maarten Vink, 337–57. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198805854.013.15.
Pedersen, Marianne Holm. Iraqi Women in Denmark: Ritual Performance and Belonging in Everyday Life. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.12644.
Reiss, Wolfram. Erneuerung in der Koptisch-Orthodoxen Kirche. Die Geschichte der koptisch-orthodoxen Sonntagsschulbewegung und die Aufnahme ihrer Reformsätze in den Erneurungsbewegungen der Koptisch-Orthodoxen Kirche der Gegenwart. Hamburg: LIT Verlag, 1998.
Rytter, Mikkel. “‘The Family of Denmark’ and ‘the Aliens’: Kinship Images in Danish Immigration Politics.” Ethnos 75, no. 3 (2010): 301–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2010.513773.
Soysal, Yasemin N. Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Sparre, Sara Lei.“(In)visibility and the Muslim Other: Narratives of Flight and Religious Identity among Iraqi Christians in Denmark.” Ethnicities (2020). https://doi.org/10.1177/1468796820949279.
Sparre, Sara Lei and Lise Paulsen Galal. “Incense and Holy Bread: The Sense of Belonging through Ritual among Middle Eastern Christians in Denmark.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44, no. 16 (2018): 2649–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1389029.
Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet. “Deltagelse i kommunal grundlovsceremoni.” Accessed 11 January 2021. https://uim.dk/arbejdsomrader/statsborgerskab/udenlandske-statsborgere/betingelser/deltagelse-i-kommunal-grundlovsceremoni.
Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet. Residence and self-sufficiency declaration. Accessed 8 January 2021. https://uim.dk/arbejdsomrader/Integration-af-nye-borgere/kontrakt-og-opholds-og-selvforsorgelseserklaering.
Copyright (c) 2021 Sara Lei Sparre, Lise Paulsen Galal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.