Religion and National Identity in the Live of Czechs in Chicago

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Dusan LUZNY, Palacky University, Czech Republic
Jana KORECKOVA, PalackĂ˝ University Olomouc, Czech Republic
Many migration studies point to the fact, that the religion is for many immigrants’ tool for successful integration into the new environment. At the same time, religious communities can function as some surroundings, which helps successful internment. Our contribution summarizes the results of the empirical survey of the Czech community in Chicago, which began in 2014 and continues to the present. Our empirical research (based on ethnography, participate observations, interviews and document analysis) is combined with a historical approach. This combination helps us to compare the findings from the research of the contemporary life of the Czechs in Chicago with information above the life of the Czechs in this region in the past. Chicago was the third "largest Czech city" (after Prague and Vienna) at the beginning of the 20th century. There was a Czech neighborhood where Czechs dominated culturally, socially, economically and politically. Today, the situation is different - the Czechs are largely assimilated and there are currently only small Czech communities. Our research question is: What role did religion or the Czech religious community in the process of integration or assimilation of Czech immigrants into the American surroundings? The results of our research show that Czech religious communities (mainly Catholic) have functioned and still working as surroundings where, on the one hand, the Czech cultural memory and collective identity are maintained, on the other hand, leads to the ghettoization of a part of the Czech immigrant community.