Religion, ethnicity and youth

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  • Religion, ethnicity and youth
    • Reasons why immigrants to Britain have greater emphasis on religion than the long-established population
      • People had high levels of belief before migration. Weber (1920)- being members of deprived groups tended to make them more religious.
        • Ethnic-minority issues, such as arranged marriages, the refusal of Sikhs to wear motorcycle helmets, and the growth in the number of religious temples and mosques (while many Christian churches have closed) suggest an unwillingness to assimilate and have created resentment from the host community.
      • Religion helps bond new communities- particularly when under threat. Durkheim (1912/1961) argued that it provides members with a sense of shared norms and values, symbolized through rituals that unite them as a distinctive social group.
        • Criticisms: religion has become a basis for conflicts between cultures. The dominant culture often sees minority cultures in a negative light, as there is the feeling that newcomers should assimilate.
    • Religion and ethnic identity
      • African-Caribbeans mainly Christian on arrival in the UK, but when trying to join existing religious institutions, they often had to come to terms with the racism displayed by church and congregations.
      • Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had virtually no existing religious organizations and places of worship in Britain to join. They had to make a collective effort to establish and practice their faith in a radically new social setting.
        • Modood et al. (1994)- for Asians, their religion was intricately connected with their status as an ethnic group, but this was not the case for African-Caribbeans.
    • Differences in styles of worship
      • Anglican Churches- dominated by older women, demands limited formal involvement.
        • Bird (1999)- Pentecostalism plays a dual role for African-Caribbean people
          • Enables people to cope with/adjust to a racist and unjust society. 'Opium' for the people. Beckford (2000)- evangelical Christianity gives Black people sense of hope and independence.
          • Pryce (1979), encourages hard work, sexual morality, prudent management of finances and strong support of family and community. Reflects protestant ethic that Weber saw as essential in development of capitalism.
      • Pentecostal Church- every age group, equal balance of sexes. Greater emphasis on religious experience than religious dogma. Demonstrates joyous nature, power of religion to heal- physically and mentally. 'Call and response' between congregation and clergy.
    • Young people and religiosity
      • Modood et al. (1994)- overall decline in importance of religion for all main ethnic groups. Interpret religious traditions and scriptures flexibly.
        • Voas and Crockett (2005), younger generations are becoming less religious- 'Believing without belonging'. (proposed by Davie 1994 that people still have religious belief but no longer choose to express it formally through church membership.) is giving way to not belief at all.
          • Older people are more likely to describe themselves as religious. Middle-aged people as spiritual. Young people as neither.
      • Fewer second-generation respondents regularly attended a place of religious worship, When asked how they saw themselves, virtually none of the second-generation Punjabis spontaneously said 'Sikh.'
        • Young Muslim Women
          • Butler (1995) - cultural hybridity. Research shows how veiling and the wearing of traditional dress may actually give Muslim girls greater freedom from patriarchal attitudes experienced by many white girls.
            • By showing themselves to be good Muslims, they gained greater freedom to pursue other interests. Individuals were able to dress in a style which was both 'Western' and 'Islamic', but that they should have greater freedoms to go out, or to go on to higher education and be fully involved in the choice of marriage partner.
          • Conclusion: Some religions provide direction and enable their members to cope in a racist and unjust society (e.g. Rastafarianism). Some religions and the ambiguities of modernity. they offer solutions that may involve resistance and/or a return to fundamental principles felt to have been eroded through spiritual and moral decline.
  • Religion helps bond new communities- particularly when under threat. Durkheim (1912/1961) argued that it provides members with a sense of shared norms and values, symbolized through rituals that unite them as a distinctive social group.
    • Criticisms: religion has become a basis for conflicts between cultures. The dominant culture often sees minority cultures in a negative light, as there is the feeling that newcomers should assimilate.

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