Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

In the Shadow of Bell Towers: The Use of Religious Capital among Christian-Catholic Second Generations in Italy

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Abstract:  Evidence from some contemporary ethnic groups suggests that ethnic religion may play a strong role in the lives of second generation members. This is evident in recent studies on Muslims living in Europe. But Europe's immigrant population is not just Muslim in origin. Migratory flows from Latin America, the Philippines and Eastern Europe (i.e. Romania or Ukraine) bring people from Catholic and Christian countries to Europe. And—as in the Italian case—these groups are now the majority among the whole immigrant population. Consequently, the almost exclusive focus on the Islamic component has allowed little investigation of the increase of the Christian-Catholic component. The paper describes and compares the religious paths of immigrants’ youth from Peru, the Philippines and Romania, considering the following questions: How do they interact with/develop their religious identity? Is this generation seeking less visible, less participatory means of contact with the church to better integrate with their peers? Or, on the contrary, do they choose, strategically, to reinforce the Catholic part of their identity in order to succeed better in the integration process in a Catholic country?

Keywords:  Christian-Catholic; discrimination; identity; immigrants; Italy; religion; second generation



© Roberta Ricucci. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.