Romanian Churches in Toronto: Not Yet Factors of Cohesion

  • Laura Visan York University
Keywords: social capital, church, immigrant, immagration, Toronto, Romanian, community, Canada, ethnography, religion, society, culture, Illumine, CSRS, UVic, University of Victoria, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society


Theorists of social capital have emphasized the catalyzing role that churches may play by strengthening community involvement and facilitating the development of personal networks. Churches that serve immigrant communities are viewed as pillars of stability, able to alleviate the cultural shock that many newcomers experience upon settling into their countries of adoption. However, this normative ideal is not always matched by reality. Building on thirty ethnographic interviews that I conducted with Romanian immigrants in Toronto, I aim to demonstrate that churches are not infallible in their cohesive efforts. They cannot compensate for the absence of interpersonal trust – a caveat inherited from the pre–1989 totalitarian era, and thus can hardly contribute to the consolidation of intra–community ties.


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How to Cite
Visan, Laura. 2014. “Romanian Churches in Toronto: Not Yet Factors of Cohesion”. Illumine: A Journal of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society 11 (1). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 101-20.