The Christian politics of identity and the making of race in the German welfare state

Lewicki, Aleksandra (2021) The Christian politics of identity and the making of race in the German welfare state. Sociology. pp. 1-17. ISSN 0038-0385

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Abstract

The Christian Caritas and Diakonie are Germany’s largest welfare providers. They currently recruit abroad and in refugee shelters to fill staffing shortages in care. Yet, they also seek to preserve their organisations’ Christian identity. Drawing on interviews with facility managers, my research explores how these initiatives shape institutional life in care homes. Specifically, I examine meanings attributed to conversion, notably in relation to Muslim staff. My analysis shows that Christians, nominal (‘by heritage’) or observant, are seen to ‘naturally embody’ care ethics and have privileged access to permanent contracts and leadership positions. The churches’ politics of identity, I argue, racializes affiliation with Christianity into a category of belonging naturally inhabited by some, and only potentially – and always debatably – attainable for others. The analysis feeds into controversies about conversion in the sociology of race and extends scholarship on identity politics beyond its usual focus on minority or far-right activism.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Care Work, Christianity, Race, Identity Politics, Islamophobia, Welfare Race
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2021 08:16
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2021 07:01
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/97727

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