Migration as a Sign of the TimesPerspectives from social sciences and theology
Gruber, Judith/Rettenbacher, Sigrid (ed.)
Migration as a Sign of the Times.
Towards a Theology of Migration
(Currents of Encounter 52)
198 p., Pb.,
Rodopi Leiden 2015
Migrations are contested sites of identity negotiations: they are not simply a process of border crossings but more so of border shiftings. Rather than allowing migrants to swiftly move across stable borders from one clearly defined identity to another, migrations question and renegotiate these very identities. Migrations undermine and re-establish borders along which the identity of migrants (and also that of the supposedly settled population) are constituted, and, as a discourse, migrations serve as a contested site of negotiating identities. Migrations reveal the negotiable character of identities – and representations of migration are themselves a hotspot in contemporary identity constructions.
What can theology contribute to the negotiations on migration? The contributions of this volume work towards a reading of migration as a sign of the times. Together, they offer „steps towards a theology of migration.“ They show that migration calls for a new way of doing. A theology that is exposed to migration as a sign of the times is drwan into the shifting, unsettling, and undermining of borders. This has impact not only on the discourse of migration, but also on the discourse of theology: it calls theology to move away from its search for well-established definitions (literally: borders) of its God-talk and to venture into new, uncharted territory. It loses its fixed, clearly defined grounds and finds itself on the way toward a renegotiation of what it means to believe in, celebrate, and reflect on YHWH – on God who is with us on the way.
Judith Gruber is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Loyola University New Orleans, USA.
Sigrid Rettenbacher is Director of the Centre for Students of Theology at the Theological Faculty of the University of Salzburg and supervisor of the diocesan education of students of theology in the Archdiocese of Salzburg, Austria.
The contested realities of migration in a glocalized world raise complex issues and call for a multi-dimensional analysis. As a sign of the times, migration calls theology into a wider academic discourse and poses two distinct questions:
Ø How can the message of the gospel be brought to the fore in the context of migration? What is the specific contribution of theology in the contested discourses on human mobility?
Ø How does migration bring to the fore the message of the gospel? Which language do migratory experiences provide for theology? How does migration in-form and re-form our way of experiencing, celebrating and conceptualising God?
The conference is dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to migration and will engage perspectives from sociology, politology, discourse analysis, philosophy and theology. The various points of view are brought into dialogue and in an extended phase of plenary discussion analyzed as to their mutual implications, thus bringing an evolving theology of migration further on the way.
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