Somewhere between love and justice: a Roman Catholic church in Paris responds to the European migration crisis

Alexis Marie Artaud De La Ferriere

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Abstract

The European migration crisis has had a transformative impact on many transit and destination localities in Europe, and in doing so it has mobilised many faith-based communities. This paper analyses the social action of Saint Bernard de La Chapelle, a Roman Catholic parish in northern Paris, which hosts a semi-formal association called Solidarités Saint Bernard (SSB) involved in support and relief activities for indigent migrants in the local area. Based on ethnographic research conducted within the parish and the association, I analyse how the topic of migration has become a point of exchange between the parish community and local civil society, how religious and secular discourses and motivations co-exist within SSB, and how these influences shape SSB’s social action. Through this micro-scale approach, and drawing on Luc Boltanski’s theoretical framework of regimes of action, my aim is to identify conceptual elements to better understand the broad convergence between religion, social action, and migration, and to better understand the relation between charity and justice within faith-based social action in the domain of migration advocacy more specifically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397–417
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society
Volume31
Early online date31 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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