Policing the borders of church and societal membership: immigration and faith-based communities in the US South

Patricia Ehrkamp, Caroline Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Policing the borders of church and societal membership: immigration and faith-based communities in the US South. Territory, Politics, Governance. This paper examines processes of border crossing and border policing within churches engaged in immigrant-outreach in the US South. Based on interviews with pastors and on focus groups with immigrant and non-immigrant congregants in 35 churches in the US South, we explore how border politics and anti-immigrant racialization intersect with the practice of faith. We argue that the complex border work undertaken by clergy members and congregants can be understood in terms of differential inclusion, that is, the extension of partial membership that may lead to a widening, rather than a diminution, of social inequalities. Immigrants themselves are cognisant of this border work and tread carefully in making claims of belonging in the church and in the state. Paying attention to the affective, emotional and performative dimensions of borders, we argue that border work needs to be understood as a diffuse set of practices undertaken by ‘ordinary’ people in the spaces of everyday life who position themselves and others as legitimate or illegitimate members of society in new immigrant destinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-331
Number of pages14
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Regional Studies Association.

Keywords

  • Immigration
  • border work
  • churches
  • new immigrant destinations
  • racialization
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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