Religions, Migrations and Minorities

Maria Rizzuto. Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy)

Religions play an important role in the transmission of the identity of migrant minorities in diasporic contexts. The English word migration derives from the Latin verb migrare, meaning “to move from one place to another”. The human migration is the permanent change of residence by an individual or group for different motivations (see section 3). This concept is related to the concept of diaspora. The concept of diaspora has long been used to refer to the Greeks in the Hellenic world and to the Jews after the fall of Jerusalem in the early 6th century BC. Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, scholars began to use it with reference to the African diaspora, and the use of the term was extended further in the following decades. The migrant groups may constitute a minority in the place of arrival: minority, a culturally, ethnically, religious distinct group that coexists but are subordinate to a more dominant group.

As the term is used in the social sciences, this subordinancy is the chief defining characteristic of a minority group. The groups of people who move often are a minority in the host country.