Make This Your Home: The Impact of Religion on Acculturation: The Case of Canadian Khoja Nizari Isma'ilis from East Africa
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This study examines the impact of religion on acculturation in a specific community, using the framework presented by Berry. Working from a Canadian perspective, Berry has created a framework that unifies much of the existing research, taking into account factors that impact acculturation prior to migration, such as education, economic status, gender roles, and migration expectations, as well as factors that arise during the acculturative process, such as the views of the new society towards migrants, the acculturation strategy chosen, and the phase of migration. This study uses rich, qualitative data from interviews, supplemented by primary and secondary source material, to focus on a religious community, the Khoja Nizari Isma‘ilis from East Africa, who have immigrated to a Canadian setting and appear to have acculturated quite successfully here. Findings demonstrate that religion, including community structures, social resources, and guidance from their Imam, have had a profound and positive impact on the acculturation of Khoja Nizari Isma‘ilis from East Africa in Canada. It is hoped that this case will help to fill gaps in the existing body of research and encourage scholars to consider the impact that religion may have as a unique category when considering acculturation, and prompt its inclusion along with the other factors, such as those proposed by Berry, rather than having it subsumed under them, as has typically been the case.
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