Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36

Mourao Permoser, Julia Stoeckl, Kristina
2010 unpublished
This paper investigates how immigration and concerns over immigrant integration are changing the established modes of cooperation between church and state in Austria. Focusing on the relationship between officially recognised Muslim and Eastern Orthodox organizations and the state, we examine how the mounting politicization of immigrant integration has led the state to collaborate with minority religious organizations as representatives of immigrants and is increasing the opportunities for
more » ... m and Eastern Orthodox groups to be visible and express voice in the public sphere. Basing our argument on interviews, policy documents and literature, we analyze how this thematic expansion of issues is transforming the modes of cooperation between religious organizations and the state from a narrow and institutionalised collaboration on policy issues exclusively related to religion to a broader but more fluid and uncertain form of symbolic cooperation. We argue that within this modified setting recognised minority religious organizations are gradually assuming the function of political entrepreneurs who speak in the name of the entire immigrant community. This, in turn, creates tensions within and between religious groups, and risks to overstate religion as a factor in the integration of immigrants. Our comparison between Muslim and Eastern Orthodox religious organizations shows that, notwithstanding the greater salience of Islam, they both benefit from the new stress of religion in integration issues. 2