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Open access

Şakin Erin

Abstract

Conversion is one of the ways in which religion diffuses in society. Different than other diffusions, such as adopting a new technology or a fad, religious adoption can be riskier since it entails a life changing transition thereby making it a complex contagion. This study investigates whether Islam diffuses through weak ties or strong ties. By comparing conversion cases in Michigan, where there is a larger Muslim community, and Kentucky, where there is a less tangible Muslim community, I argue Islam is more likely to diffuse through what I call recessive or dominant weak ties in Michigan, whereas it is more likely to diffuse through strong ties in Kentucky. I collected personal social networks of 18 individuals who converted to Islam living in Michigan and 12 living in Kentucky. I found the research participants through mosques located in several cities in Michigan, including Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Flint, Detroit, Dearborn, and Canton, and two cities in Kentucky: Lexington and Louisville. Having investigated a set of egocentric conversion networks from both Michigan and Kentucky, I found that the existence of a Muslim community and how it is perceived by mainstream society is an ultimate factor in determining the strength of a tie to other Muslims. Thus, Islam is more likely to diffuse through weak ties where there is a Muslim community, but it is more likely to diffuse through strong ties where there is no such community.

Open access

Rolle Alho and Mika Helander

Abstract

In this article, we analyse foreign seasonal berry and vegetable pickers’ strategies as regards securing their living and working conditions in Finland. Farmers are currently dependent on foreign seasonal workers. In spite of the potential gains working in Finland offers to foreign pickers, the risks associated with the work are diverted to the individual employee. The risks are not shared between the employee and the welfare state, which is regarded as a central feature of the Nordic welfare model. In this precarious situation, ‘weak ties’ become an important source of information and security for the pickers.