Podcast: Migrant adolescents and the image of God

28 April 2022

What does migration do to adolescents and their image of God, and their faith? What does it mean for their religious identity? How do migrated adolescents live out their faith in secularised Europe?

Theological research on migration and adolescents

In this podcast a conversation with Dr. Amy Casteel. She is a researcher at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, and part of the Research Unit of Pastoral and Empirical Theology at the Catholic University of Leuven. Casteel researched in different contexts adolescents who experienced migration to Europa from another continent, what it does to their view of God and how they practice their religion in-between their home community and a new dominant culture.

Migrated adolescents, religious identity and faith practices

Adolescents who experienced migration are confronted with many expressions of faith and religion, and often this happens before they have developed a social network that they need to support their own religious identity. It means they have to choose whether or not they re-negotiate the manner in which they practice their religion as they are asserting an identity between home community, host community, a new dominant culture and teen culture.

The stories and voices of migrated young people

Amy Casteels did qualitative research on adolescents who re-settled several times in Europe. She used the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis method, which helped to listen and honor the stories and voices of migrated young people and their views of God. In this podcast you will hear some of these stories and voices. You will also hear how Amy Casteels explores the image of the church as a bridge between a host and home community. Foundational is a Biblical theology in which the role of migration is explored and in which the roles of the stranger, the guest and the host are shifting; what happens when we are challenged to be the guest when we think that we should be the host? Welcome to listen to this conversation about adolescence in the liminal space of not really arriving and not really leaving, of not reaching the goal and being on the way. But also about being a qualitative researcher and engagement.

Relevant literature

- Casteel, Amy (2019), Lunch and the Passion: 'Reflections on an Evangelical Reception Center for Refugees in Greece.In: Diaconia 10 (2), pp.195-212;
- Casteel, Amy (2020), Fighting the Tide: Youth with a History of Migration Living Religion in a New Context. In: Journal of Youth and Theology 19, pp.25-45;
- Casteel, Amy (2021), 'Setting a New Course? A Practical Discussion about Migration and the Bible.' In: Open Theology 7 (1), pp. 590-604.;
- Casteel, Amy (2022), Pillars of Salt: Pastoral Care with Adolescents with a Migration Experience. In: Religions 13 (184), pp.1-16.