Short-Term Scientific Mission exploring faith-based support for migrants: the Nordic context 

Sep 25, 2023

The Nordic countries stand out as relatively strong welfare states with a high degree of secularisation. As to church-state relations and the participation of faith-based actors in the social support to migrants, there are interesting differences among these states, particularly between Norway (former state church, decentralised welfare state, strong role for diaconal organisations), Sweden (religious oligarchy, centralised welfare state, intermediate role for diaconal organisations) and The Netherlands, often also included in this cluster (religious diversity, high degree of private-state cooperation, informal role for diaconal organisations). All three encounter the entrance of religiously diverse immigrants, while the faith-based actors providing support vary in their relation to organised religion: from formal to formerly church-based. 

COST Action COREnet member Prof. Kees De Groot (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) visited VID Specialized University (Norway) colleagues to exchange knowledge on faith-based support for migrants.

The concept of liquidation of religion in Prof. De Groot’s research proposal investigates the continuities and discontinuities between these more or less secularised faith-based initiatives, focussing on the characteristics of their practices, including the implied practice theory. 

This Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) served to 1) design the research project into faith-based support for migrants in a context of liquidation, 2) embed this project in COREnet Working Group 3 ‘Design of Practice-Orientated Research Projects’ activities, 3) use the expertise at the VID Centre of Diaconia and Professional Practice, 4) and to establish contacts between researchers.

Prof. De Groot, during his STSM, prepared one research proposal and presented a paper, ‘Determining what is fluid. Designing research into faith-based informal social support in a secular and multireligious urban context’ at the 9th Conference for Research in Diakonia and Christian Social Practice (presented in Oslo, 31 May – 2 June 2023). He also prepared two scientific publications, which will be published shortly.

According to prof. de Groot, this STSM was extraordinarily successful, productive and stimulating. Also, de Groot highly appreciated VID’s hospitality and social and intellectual climate.


In the photo: prof. Kees de Groot with colleagues at VID Specialized University (Oslo).


What is a Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) within COREnet?

A Short-Term Scientific Mission, funded by the COST Action COREnet, consists of a visit to a host organisation located in a different country to the country of affiliation of a Researcher in order to carry out specific work as part of a research project. In addition to research purposes, Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are aimed to support researchers’ individual mobility, to strengthen existing networks and to foster collaboration between individuals. The purpose of a STSM is thus to gain new partnerships, to learn new techniques and to gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions/organisations.


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