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Theme 2 - Religiosities, Ethnicities and Socioeconomic Issues for Muslim Communities in the Context of Migration and Sedentarization

IREMAM Contributors : Bernard Botiveau, Vincent Geisser, Myriam Laakili, Françoise Lorcerie, Aude Signoles.

This rapidly-expanding research theme at IREMAM covers several projects and research programs :

  • The ethnicization of social relations (ethnicity, secularism and discrimination) : This research looks at inclusion policies and processes for populations of immigrant origin from Muslim countries settled in Europe. It questions the prevailing political ideology and public action, as well as the mobilizations and the social and cultural practices of these populations. In particular, studies look at how school education deals with religious and cultural diversity. Conflicts around secularism, struggles against discrimination, and the normalisation of Islam are some of the key subjects under study. In the field of education, ties have been established with SFERE, a federative institutional structure set up by Aix-Marseille University, as well as with the ESPEand the Local Education Authority of Aix-Marseille. The RIED network (International Education and Diversity Network) has offices in France through IREMAM.

  • Economic anthropology and religious norms : This theme deals with the study of the tripartite relationship between religious officials, politics and the economy. It brings together research that analyses the normative religious dynamics of “market economies”, where the economy is partly “disincorporated” of its social relations. Taking into account both the economic dimension of religious practices, and the religious dimension of economic practices, provides an opportunity to reappraise the binary model of secularisation that puts the political in opposition with the religious (according to various models of “leaving” or “returning” to religion, post-secularisation, etc.). This theme coordinates and encourages research on the circulation and commercialisation of “faith goods”, both material and immaterial, which are resistant to classical economic analysis, are legally challenging, and do not fit well into an overly restrictive sociological conception of “religious practices”. To this aim, the MHALEC program (funded by the Central Bureau of Worship, French Ministry of the Interior, 2016-2018) works to keep abreast with the economic, legal and socioreligious reality of the halal market in France (and its legal aspects in the European Union).

  • Islamic humanitarian aid in France, from “NGO” label to the search for an original Muslim approach ? : This program, financed by the French Ministry of the Interior’s Central Bureau of Worship, aims to study the emergence of associations and humanitarian NGOs labelled as “Muslim” in the French public space. Between mimetism of a universalist-style humanitarian aid and the search for an alternative Islamic approach, between the need for professionalisation and activist engagement drawing on a co-religious ethos, between forces of change and continuity, what is specific to French Islamic humanitarian aid, and what makes it unique ?

Manifestation musulmane Paris © Wikicommons