Performing religion: Migrants, the church and belonging in Marrickville, Sydney

Watson, Sophie (2009). Performing religion: Migrants, the church and belonging in Marrickville, Sydney. Culture and Religion, 10(3) pp. 317–338.



This article seeks to extend debates on questions of religious practices in a multicultural society and to explore the response of traditional churches to challenges and to customary practices. In particular, it considers the different forms of belonging sought within particular (albeit heterogeneous) ethnic groups, or within the wider community of a multicultural church, and the role played by the church in 'mixing-up people' across and within their differences, forging new connections and communities, and reconfiguring traditional religious practices to accommodate migrant cultures. The article proposes the concept of 'adaptive dexterity' to indicate the openness of an institution - in this case the church - at any one historical moment to the sharing of space and diverse cultural practices. It concludes with some brief reflections on the relationship between the possibility of enacting different religious practices and the question of everyday multicultural citizenship.

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