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Surviving the mega-city: the experiences of minority Christian migrants in New Delhi, India

Raum mit Bildschirm und Stühlen

The project explores the role of religion in shaping the identity constructions of minority Christian migrants in the mega-city of New Delhi (India), the various strategies and aspirations that inform the religious choices that they make in the mega-city and the ways in which this is intertwined with their negotiations of everyday life in the mega-urban environment.

With an ethnographic focus on Christian migrants from the states of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram in Northeast India, the project seeks to elucidate how the urban environment of a mega-city in the global South (with the multiple opportunities and challenges that it poses) and the condition of being a minority migrant community in such a metropolis inform the religious choices of these Christian migrants in New Delhi as they reconstitute their ‘true’ selves through acts of religious choice and religious creativity. By exploring these issues in one of the fastest growing mega-cities in South Asia, the project contributes to and complicates current anthropological discussions on the role of religion in transforming the fabric of urban social life, impacting people’s identity constructions and mediating social relations in urban environments. Further, the project also embodies the potential to spur new conversations (both within and beyond the social sciences) on how the processes and relationships it explores, as well as the power dynamics and contestations which underpin them, inform ongoing social and religious transformations in the world’s mega-cities.

Key words: mega-cities, India, urban Christianity, religious choice, religious identity

Principal investigator:

Dr Iliyana Angelova

Project duration: 2021-2024

Project funding: Central Research Development Fund (CRDF 04B), University of Bremen