Making progress or perpetuating power?

A look at (de)colonial approaches in theologies of migration

  • Amy Casteel


What does it mean to “enact” the imago dei? The majority of theological work on migration is from the point of view of the host, or receiving communities and their response towards newcomers. This results in an observer’s view of the challenges of migration not the experiences of migrants themselves. Is there an underlying bias in the language they choose that, even unwittingly, perpetuates a colonial mindset? Analyzing 105 theological articles, chapters, and books written about migration, this paper briefly considers the anthropological stances towards migrants present in these works. These are compared with theological anthropological stances. Then welcome or hospitality, which are described as the appropriate response to newcomers, are also considered in light of the anthropologies. These differences are juxtaposed with practices of churches in Greece variously involved with resettled migrants.