Religious Belonging in Family, School, and Ethnic Communities: Changes in Christian–Catholic Second Generations in Italy

  • Roberta RicucciEmail author
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE)


While migration waves from Central and Eastern Europe signify an increasing number of second generations with a Christian–Catholic (CC) background, the almost exclusive debate on the migration of Muslims has allowed little investigation of the increase in migration of the Christian contingent and very few studies have been conducted from a youth perspective. The question of how faith, ethnicity, and religious socialisation relate to one another is highly pertinent in the Italian context where Catholicism continues to be the religion of reference for the majority of the population, in spite of increasing trends in secularisation in other European countries. The core goal of this chapter is to analyse how religious belonging is changing and what the challenges to this issue are within the ethnic community of Christian second generations. The chapter will present an initial attempt, by drawing on 30 qualitative interviews, to analyse how young Filipinos, Peruvians, and Romanians (aged 18–24 years) living in Italy manage their relationship with religion, by considering whether and how they continue to be linked with their religious ethnic communities.


Religion Young people Migration Ethnic identity Italy Second generation Christianity Roman Catholicism 


  1. Allasino, E., Reyneri, E., Venturini, A., & Zincone, A. (2004). Labour market discrimination against migrant workers in Italy. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
  2. Alba, R. (2005). Bright vs. blurred boundaries: Second-generation assimilation and exclusion in France, Germany and the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28, 20–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allievi, S. (2012). Reactive identities and islamophobia: Muslim minorities and the challenge of religious pluralism in Europe. Philosophy & Social Criticism, 38, 379–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ambrosini, M. (2008). Un’altra globalizzazione: la sfida delle migrazioni internazionali. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, P. (1992). A far glory: The quest for faith in an age of credulity. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bianchi, G. E. (2011). Italiani o nuova Italia? Citizenship and attitudes towards the second generation in contemporary Italy. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16(3), 321–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowe, J. R. (2010). Can Islam be French? Pluralism and pragmatism in a secularist state. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bréchon, P. (2009). Religion: appartenance et identité religieuse. In P. Bréchon & J.-F. Tchernia (Eds.), La France à travers ses valeurs (pp. 227–266). Paris: Armand Colin.Google Scholar
  9. Casanova, J. (2009). Immigration and the new religious pluralism: A European Union–United States comparison. In G. Brahm Levey & T. Modood (Eds.), Secularism, religion and multicultural citizenship (pp. 139–163). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Caselli, M. (2008). Vite transnazionali? Peruviani e peruviane a Milano. Milano: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
  11. Ceravolo, F. A., & Molina, S. (2013). Dieci anni di seconde generazioni in Italia. Quaderni di Sociologia, 63, 9–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cesareo, V. (2014). Twenty years of migrations in Italy: 1994–2014. Milan: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  13. Cesari, J. (2013). The west fears Islam: An exploration of Islam in Western liberal democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cesari, J., & Pacini, A. (2005). Giovani musulmani in Europa. Turin: Edizioni Fondazione Agnelli.Google Scholar
  15. Cingolani, P. (2009). Rumeni d’Italia. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  16. Cingolani, P., & Ricucci, R. (2014). Transmediterranei. Turin: Academia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Cock, J. (2009). Colombian migrants, Latin American publics: Ethnicity and transnational practices among Colombian migrants in London. London: Queen Mary University.Google Scholar
  18. Connor, P. (2010). Religion as resource: Religion and immigrant economic incorporation. Social Science Research, 40, 1350–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Connor, P. (2012). International migration and religious selection. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51(1), 184–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cotesta, V., Di Franco, G., & Tognonato, C. (2009). Le aspettative delle famiglie immigrate nei confronti del sistema scolastico italiano. Roma: CNEL.Google Scholar
  21. Crane, K. R. (2003). Latino churches’ faith, family, and ethnicity in the second generation. New York: LFB Scholarly Pub.Google Scholar
  22. Crespi, I., Santoni, C., & Zzanier, M. L. (2017). Between genders and generations: Migration and families in contemporary Italy. HETEROGLOSSIA: Quaderni di Linguaggi e Interdisciplinarità, 15, 181–208.Google Scholar
  23. Davie, G. (1994). Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without belonging. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  24. Davie, G. (2015). Religion in Britain: A persistent paradox. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  25. De Konig, M. (2008). Zoeken naareen ‘zuivere’ Islam: Religieuze beleving en identiteitsvorming van Marokkaans-Nederlandse Moslims. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker.Google Scholar
  26. Ebaugh, H. R., & Chafetz, J. S. (Eds.). (2000). Religion and the new immigrants: Continuities and adaptations in immigrant congregations. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  27. Eck, D. L. (2007). A new religious America. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  28. Eccles, J. (2015). Religion Italian style: Continuities and changes in a Catholic country. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 30(3), 546–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Foner, N., & Alba, R. (2008). Immigrant religion in the U.S. and Western Europe: Bridge or barrier to inclusion? International Migration Review, 42(2), 360–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gallo, E. (Ed.). (2014). Migration and religion in Europe. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  31. Garelli, F. (2014). Religion Italian style. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  32. Garelli, F. (2016). Piccoli atei crescono. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  33. Hausner, S. L., & Garnett, J. (Eds.). (2015). Religion in diaspora: Cultures of citizenship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Heft, J. L. (Ed.). (2006). Passing on the faith: Transforming traditions for the next generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Herberg, W. (1955). Protestant–Catholic–Jew. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  36. Hervieu-Léger, D., Garelli, F., Giner, S., Sarasa, S., Beckford, J. A., Daiber, K. F., & Tomka, M. (1992). La religione degli Europei: Fede, cultura religiosa e modernità in Francia, Italia, Spagna, Gran Bretagna, Germania e Ungheria. Torino: Edizioni Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli.Google Scholar
  37. Hirschman, C. (2004). The role of religion in the origins and adaptation of immigrant groups in the United States. International Migration Review, 38(3), 1206–1234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hunter, S. T. (Ed.). (2002). Islam, Europe’s second religion: The new social, cultural, and political landscape. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  39. ISTAT (Istituto Italiano di Statistica). (2015). Indicatori demografici: Stime per l’anno 2014. Roma: ISTAT.Google Scholar
  40. Kawai, Y. (2005). Stereotyping Asian Americans: The dialectic of the model minority and the yellow peril. The Howard Journal of Communications, 16, 109–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levitt, P. (2004). Redefining the boundaries of belonging: The institutional character of transnational religious life. Sociology of Religion, 65(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Luciano, A., Demartini, M., & Ricucci, R. (2010). La scuola. In G. Zincone & I. Ponzo (Eds.), Immigrati: Servizi uguali o diversi? (pp. 57–96). Roma: Carocci.Google Scholar
  43. Massey, D. S., & Espinosa Higgins, M. (2007). What role does religion play in the migration process? And vice versa? Evidence from the new immigrant survey. Paper presented to the Population Association of America, New York, March.Google Scholar
  44. Meer, N., Martineau, W., & Thompson, S. (2012). Misrecognizing Muslim consciousness in Europe. Ethnicities, 12, 131–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Model, S., & Lin, L. (2002). The cost of not being Christian: Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in Britain and Canada. International Migration Review, 36, 1061–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Näre, L. (2013). The ethics of transnational market familism: Inequalities and hierarchies in the Italian elderly care. Ethics and Social Welfare, 7(2), 184–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pace, V. (2013). Le religioni nell’Italia che cambia. Roma: Carocci.Google Scholar
  48. Paerregaard, K. (2010). Peruvians dispersed: A global ethnography of migration. Lanham, MA: Lexington.Google Scholar
  49. Parreñas-Salazar, R. (Ed.). (2001). The global servants: (Im)migrant Filipina domestic workers in Rome and Los Angeles. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Parreñas-Salazar, R. (2003). The care crisis in the Philippines: Children and transnational families in the new global economy. In B. Ehrenreich & A. R. Hochschild (Eds.), Global woman: Nannies, maids, and sex workers in the new economy (pp. 39–55). New York: Metropolitan.Google Scholar
  51. Pérez-Agote, A. (Ed.). (2012). Portraits du catholicisme: une comparaison européenne. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.Google Scholar
  52. Portes, A. (1996). The new second generation. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  53. Portes, A., & Hao, L. (2002). The price of uniformity: Language, family and personality adjustment in the immigrant second generation. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(6), 889–912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Premazzi, V., & Ricucci, R. (2015). Religious belonging in the Facebook era: Muslims on line, young people off line. In D. Enstdet, G. Larsson, & V. Pace (Eds.), Religion and internet: Annual review of the sociology of religion (pp. 147–163). Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ricci, A. (2006). I Romeni in Italia: immigrazione, radicamento e ritorno. Societatea Reala, 4, 25–52.Google Scholar
  56. Ricucci, R. (2010). Religion and the adolescent immigrants in Italy: A way of identifying with or turning from their communities? Journal of Contemporary Religion, 25(3), 419–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ricucci, R. (2014). Second generations on the move in Italy: Children of immigrants coming of age. Lanham, MA: Lexington.Google Scholar
  58. Ricucci, R. (2016). In the shadow of bell towers: The use of religious capital in the current economic hard times among Christian–Catholic second generations in Italy. Social Inclusion, 4(2), 87–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ricucci, R. (2018). Cittadini senza cittadinanza: Immigrati, seconde e altre generazioni: pratiche quotidiane tra inclusione ed estraneità. La questione dello ‘ius soli’. Turin: Seb27.Google Scholar
  60. Rumbaut, R. G. (1997). Assimilation and its discontents: Between rhetoric and reality. International Migration Review, 31(4), 923–960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Singh, J. (2012). Keeping the faith: Reflections on religious nurture among young British Sikhs. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 33(3), 369–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Smith, C., Christoffersen, K., Davidson, H., & Snell Herzog, P. (2011). Lost in transition: The dark side of emerging adulthood. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. UNAR (Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali). (2014). Dossier statistico immigrazione. Rome: Ed. Idos.Google Scholar
  64. Vertovec, S., & Wassendorf, S. (2005). Migration and cultural, religious and linguistic diversity in Europe: An overview of issues and trends. Oxford: Compass.Google Scholar
  65. Voas, D., & Fleischmann, F. (2012). Islam moves west: Religious change in the first and second generation. Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 525–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Warner, S., & Wittner, J. G. (Eds.). (1998). Gatherings in diaspora: Religious communities and the new immigration. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Wihtol de Wenden, C. (2004). Giovani di seconda generazione: il caso francese. In M. Ambrosini & S. Molina (Eds.), Seconde generazioni: un’introduzione al futuro dell’immigrazione in Italia (pp. 107–128). Turin: Edizioni Fondazione Agnelli.Google Scholar
  68. Wuthnow, R. (2005). America and the challenges of religious diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yang, F., & Ebaugh, H. R. (2001). Religion and ethnicity among new immigrants: The impact of majority/minority status in home and host countries. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40(3), 367–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yu, T. (2006). Challenging the politics of the ‘model minority’ stereotype: A case for educational equality. Equity & Excellence in Education, 39(4), 325–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zanfrini, L., & Asis, M. B. (Eds.). (2006). Orgoglio e pregiudizio: una ricerca tra Filippine e Italia sulla transizione all’età attiva dei figli di emigrati e dei figli di immigrati. Milan: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology of Interethnic RelationsUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations