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Movement and religion

Religion, spirituality and human mobility intersect in many diverse ways. In some instances, movement has been a key element in manifestations of faith and religious history, through pilgrimages or proselytism. In turn, spirituality often drives or accompanies migration, and religious actors play significant roles in shaping migrant experiences and attitudes in sending and receiving societies.


In this issue, we explore migrants’ relationship with religion, factoring in migrants’ beliefs for building a more complete framework on migrant decision-making in the face of high-risk journeys. We also look at Catholic organisations as institutional actors actively involved in immigration and refugee policy in Brazil, as well as a community that upholds and helps undocumented Filipino migrants in the Netherlands.

Receiving societies have mixed and evolving views on migrants’ beliefs, as the attitudes towards Islam in Japan show, and mainstream religious values can be tuned to different politics – the Bible, sometimes invoked in anti-immigration discourses, offers a strong case for supporting migrants. We also look back to history and film to understand how defining Judaism as a religion or an ethnicity had dire consequences on asylum rights.


The authenticity of pilgrims’ claims, in the context of increased touristification and commodification, sheds new light on the contemporary revival of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The topics of authenticity, spectacle, and conflict with not-so-mobile local populations also feature prominently in one of the two academic books we review in this issue. We also bring you another title dedicated to the role of translocal ties and networks in constructing mobility and shaping development.


Finally, this issue includes an analysis of the ambiguous loss of saying goodbye to an emigrating loved one at the airport, together with some coping mechanisms; and an interview with the renowned chef of Mérito, a Peruvian-Venezuelan restaurant in Lima. 

Thanks once again to our authors for sharing their writing, research and experiences, and to our readers for joining us on our end-of-year issue. We wish you all the best for your journeys in 2022!

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Authentication of movement: Who gets to be a pilgrim on the Camino?

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Religious refugees of the Holocaust and the denial of the right to free movement: A discussion of Markus Imhoof’s The Boat is Full

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The visibility of Islam in Japan

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Two Jesuses: The Bible as a pro-migrant text and the westernisation of Christ

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In God we trust: Religious beliefs and sensemaking of Filipino undocumented migrants in the Netherlands

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Catholic institutions and the integration of immigrants and refugees in Brazil

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Rationalising the ‘irrational’: How divine protection is utilised by migrants in high-risk migration

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Book review: Frictions in cosmopolitan mobilities

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Airports: A gateway to ambiguous loss

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Book review: Handbook of translocal development and global mobilities

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Juan Luis Martínez’ Mérito: Listening to the voice of the road

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