Factors Affecting Religiosity


Class, age, gender and ethnicity notes
Note by Gabzay, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Gabzay over 10 years ago

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Key trends More women than men participate in religious activities and believe in God, sin, evil, the Devil and life after death Miller and Hoffman - women express greater interest in religion, have a stronger personal commitment to it and attend church more Bruce estimates that twice as many women as men involved in sects

Key trends Brierly - those over 65 are the most likely to attend church Lowest level of participation in religious activities is among people aged 15-19 High rate of participation among children under 15 Young adults are more likely to join sects Middle-aged, middle-class people are more likely to join cults Ruckbie - women in their 30s and 40s are most likely to participate in witchcraft Davie - people aged 15-34 are less likely than those over 54 to believe in God and heaven Overall decline in church attendance across all age groups in the past 30 years especially among under 15s 

Older People and Religion Disengagement - They become detached from the integrating mechanisms of society e.g. paid employment. Growing privatisation and social isolation from partners and friends dying. Religious organisations provide social support and a network of people to relate to. Religious socialisation - Greater emphasis on religion through education and socialisation when younger. Ill-health and death - Declining health and death looming and these are things that religion concerns itself with. Old people use religion for comfort, coping, meaning and support.

Young People and Religion Declining attraction of religion - young people reject the values traditional religions promote e.g. no femal priests, no sex before marriage, homosexuality being wrong and abortion.  Expanded spiritual market place - Lynch says that young people may be turning away from traditional religions because they are more exposed to a wide diversity of religions through immigration, internet and mass media. Privatisation of belief - Young people are more likely to treat religious belief as a private matter. According to Davie, young people 'believe but not belong'. Secular spirituality and the sacred - Lynch claims that young people may not have lost religiosity but found new, secular and non-religious ways to express it e.g. they find football, clubbing, music and the environment 'sacred' in their lives. Decline of metanarritives - Lyotard states that young people no longer believe the old religious explanations and they can pick and mix or reject beliefs as they choose. Declining religious education - Bruce identifies this as a reason because of the decline in Sunday schools and school assemblies taking on a more secular tone. Pragmatic reasons - Young people have more demands on their time (exam pressures, etc.) so they tend to use their free time for leisure pursuits e.g. shops, pubs and clubs as opposed to religion.

Women and Religion Socialisation - Miller and Hoffman state that women are socialised to be more passive, obedient and caring, qualities which are valued by most religions Guardians of family life - Halman and Draulans claims that women take charge of their children's moral development by introducing them to approved social values, including religious beliefs Greater life expectancy - Women are more likely to be widowed so they turn to religion as a source of comfort  and as a means of building support networks in their communities. Status frustration - Religious participation may help to overcome or compensate for status frustration resulting from being confined to the home. Closer proximity to birth and death - According to Davie, women are closer to 'ultimate' questions about the meaning of life that religion is concerned with through child-bearing and caring for elderly. Social deprivation, marginality and theodicies of disprivelige - Glock and Stark and Stark and Bainbridge say that women are more likely to experience these so they join sects.

Key trends Men and women interested in new age therapies more likely to be middle class Men more likely to be younger, women, mainly middle-aged

Key Trends Higher than average rates of religious participation for most minority ethnic groups Muslims, Hindus and black Christians are considerably more likely that white Christians to see religion as important

Ethnicity and ReligionCultural defence Bruce – religion offers support in a hostile environment Bird – religion among minorities can be a basis for community solidarity, a means of preserving one’s culture and language and a way of coping with oppression in a racist society African and Caribbean Christians found that white churches in the UK did not actively welcome them so they turned to funding or joining black-led churches, especially Pentecostal churches Cultural transition Herberg – religion is a means of easing transition into a new culture by providing support and a sense of community for minority groups in their new environment E.g. high levels of religious participation among first generation migrants in the USA However, once a group has made the transition into wider society, religion may lose its role and decline in importance Family pressures Family structures are much tighter knit in Asian communities, with strong extended families Combined with generally closer-knit communities may result in pressure to conform to religious values and behaviour However this ignores other ethnic minorities which do not necessarily have these values Social identity Religion provides ethnic minority individuals with markers of identity e.g. customs, dress food, rituals and festivals Allows members to resist the denial of status and the devaluing of their own culture by racism E.g. Johal suggests that younger British Asians forged a single new hybrid identity which he calls “Brasian” by blending both British and Asian cultures Community identity and cohesion Davie – higher levels of religiosity help to maintain tradition, group cohesion and community solidarity E.g. Mosques and Sikh temples are community centres as well as places of worship, and provide a focus for social life as well as a means of protecting and promoting cultural values and traditions which may be under threat by the dominant white culture Modood et al – religion is a source of socialization, means of maintaining traditional morality and helps them to cope with the worries and pressures in life arising from hostility and discrimination Social deprivation, marginality and status frustration Marx – religion is the ‘opium of the people’ – comforting diversion from attacking the causes of their povery Weber – religion provides a ‘theodicy of disprivelige’ Stark and Bainbridge – religion is a compensator

Gender and Religiosity

Age and Religiosity

Class and Religiosity

Ethnicity and Religiosity

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