Conviviality in Motion connected: Affiliated Members


Esther Maria Meyer

Living and Working Interculturally and Ecumenically. A Case Study on an Intercultural Church Center

"Being more than self-sufficient!" This slogan ahead protestant main-line churches in the German-speaking parts of Europe strive to enhance structural changes that foster processes of opening up to interculturality. In my dissertation project I will research on these developments within the Protestant church in Baden. The emphasis is put on the analysis of an intercultural church center. In this center five different congegrations with varying origins, sizes, structures and languages live and worship in the same place. How do (professional) friendship and a prolific passion for a community that is intercultural and ecumenical develop from a relationship of landlord and lessee? Which theological motives and narratives are used in the communities and which role do they play in the community of the different congregations? Which coping strategies were developed in order to overcome difficulties? I'd like to answer these questions by conducting a qualitative empirical study. Working with sociological methods of Reflexive Grounded Theory Methodology and sequentail analysis, I plan to evaluate data from a two-year-period. This may result in a theory of medium range that is intended to offer both a detailed analysis of the church center outlined above and insights on a more abstract level. This is closely bound to theological and interdisciplinary models of affective beloning, conviviality, the affirmative approach to diversity, theological cybernetics and the self-understanding of Christian congregations.


Frederick Gyamfi Mensah

Response to Racism and Xenophobia in the Context of Global Migration: Ghanaian Christians in Switzerland and South Africa (Dissertation project)

“If I am able to make the long journey here by the grace of God, then I am capable of breaking all other barriers that stand my way with the help of the same God.” This statement by a Ghanaian migrant summarizes the motivation and the resolve of most African migrants to pursue their dreams of seeking better life for themselves and their families despite the many odds in the destination countries. One of the obvious barriers which hinder and impede the success of African migrants is racism and xenophobia. This social problem slows down the progress of most migrants and gets them struggling for many years. My research project is a sub-project of a bigger topic: African religious migrant communities in the context of racism and xenophobia, a study which brings together in dialogue the academic disciplines of migration, race and religion.

To keep their regular touch with God, religious belonging is very important to the Christian African migrants. As an international research reject, I intend to focus on Ghanaian christian migrant communities in Switzerland and South Africa. I will investigate how Ghanaians respond to their experiences of racism and xenophobia. The following questions will be of particular interest: How does religious belonging help migrants create social capacity in response and adjustment to racism and xenophobia? To ask the same question in a more academic way: to what extent does religious belonging create social capacity to help migrants actively shape their living conditions in a diasporic situation that is frequently experienced as hostile and exclusionary?