How does religion change the (migrant) home, and how is home itself (re)built through religious practices? Barbara Bertolani and Paolo Boccagni have just published a paper on the lived experience of religion and domestic sacralization in the dwellings of Sikh migrants in Italy, at the intersection between private, public and diasporic space. The article is available online first in Ethnicities.
Bertolani B, Boccagni P. Domestic religion and the migrant home: the private, the diasporic and the public in the sacralization of Sikh dwellings in Italy. Ethnicities. January 2022.
doi:10.1177/14687968211069376Migrants’ home, as a notion and a set of related experiences and locations across countries, is subject to an increasing research interest. Little of this, however, has looked at their ways to circulate and emplace religion, through portable beliefs, artifacts, and practices, as a form of home-making. Likewise, little of the debate on home and migration has explored the home, not just in terms of housing conditions or material cultures, but as an infrastructure for migrants to reproduce their collective identities through religion. We contribute to fill these research voids with a case study of “domestic religion” among Sikh immigrant families in Northern Italy. We specifically analyze the religious practices whereby some migrants, building on certain objects and ways to use the domestic space, turn ordinary dwellings into meaningful homes. Their ways to “sacralize” the home through temporary or permanent infrastructures of religiosity illuminate changing uses and meanings of home. Moreover, they reveal the critical interdependence between the home and the public and diasporic spheres of religion. This opens up a potentially very rich field for research on the lived experience of domestic space, showing how religion (re)shapes the home, and the home (re)shapes religion, across immigrant groups, and life course positions.