Research in Sociology of Religion

The aim of this project is to examine the relationship between religion, stigmatized urban peripheries, and social unrest. We compare Muslim and Pentecostal communities in two Catalan neighborhoods, that of Espronceda in Sabadell and that of Plaza Cataluña in Salt (and the bordering neighborhood of Sta. Eugenia de Girona). The research project is organized around three issues: 1) The role of these economic and social peripheries as spaces for the reception of new populations and the allocation of resources particular to the religious field, on the one hand, and for the allocation of social, cultural, labor and housing resources, on the other. The objective is to understand the role that religion plays in addressing the material, cultural and symbolic precariousness in which the inhabitants of these peripheries find themselves, and especially those who have arrived through the migratory process. The second issue relates to the role of religious organizations and expressions in the social interpretation and channeling of social unrest. Here we address with the growing international scientific literature on the rising levels of contention characteristic of the peripheral districts of London and Paris, and the reported tendencies toward radicalization among youth residing in stigmatized neighborhoods. The last issue deals with the interrelations between traditional popular movements linked to urban struggles and new religious movements. We look at whether these interrelations take the form of cooperation, support, or functional replacement of the latter by the former. The research is framed in relation to the emerging literature that emphasizes the importance of understanding the production of urban space, inequality, and processes of stigmatization (territorial, ethnic and religious), as well as expressions of unrest, institutional disaffection, and public contestation among the inhabitants of marginalized and / or stigmatized neighborhoods.