Ethnicty and Religious Beliefs

  • Created by: Lilly
  • Created on: 15-05-14 11:07

Reasons for higher religiousity among ethnic minor

Bird- 5 reasons why ethnic groups more likely to be religious than white population: majority originate in societies that have high levels of religiosity (Pakistan, Caribbean)

  1. Belonging to ethnic group in society means that religion can be important basis for sense of community and solidarity. Gives members point of contact, sense of identity and introduce them to potential marriage partners.
  2. May see religion as way of maintaining cultural identity in terms of traditions such as food, language, art, music
  3. Socialisation can lead to strong pressure on children to maintain religious commitment
  4. Coping with sense of oppression- he quotes Pryce's study which examined how Pentecostalism acted as a way of helping some members of the AC community in Bristol to cope with low pay and racial discrimination.
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reasons cont.

Bruce (1995)

Accepts that ethnics more religious than whites in modern Britain, but believes that their religiosity is more an expression of community solidarity than deep religious commitment.

Argues that ethnic minority religious observance stems from both:

  1. cultural defence- religion to protect identity in essentially hostile environment
  2. Cultural transition- used to cope with upheaval of migration

Over time the secular nature of British society will erode importance of religion for ethnic minorities.

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reasons cont.

2001 Census- 74% of Muslims said that religion was 'very important' in comparison to 11% of white people described themselves as belonging to the COE.

Weber (1920)- immigrants had high levels of belief before they migrated to the UK, often members of deprived groups, suffering from material and cultural deprivation and so looked to religion to explain their position (theodicy of disprivilage) and to provide hopes of salvation

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reasons cont.

Durkheim (1912)- religion helps bond new communities who are under threat, providing people with shared norms and values, social solidarity is shared / symbolised through rituals (singing- creates sense of belonging) religion unites people as a distinctive social group.

Davie- suggests higher levels help to maintain group cohesion and community solidarity. Links this to other aspects of ethnic identity, art, marriage, cooking, diet, dress and language.

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reasons cont.

Religion positively reinforces their ethnic identity in the dace of racism. Ramji found that for young males in his sample, Islam gives them a degree of status which they feel they cannot achieve in other ways, due to racial discrimination.

Family structures- might tighter knit in Asian communities with stronger extended families. Combined with generally closer knit communities  may result in pressure to conform to religious values and behaviours.

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reaons cont.

By asserting an identity drawn from religious elements of their cultures, members can resist the denial of status and devaluing of their own culture by racism. Johal- many younger British Asians have forged a single new hybrid identity, calls 'Brasian' derived from blending both British and Asian cultures, involves establishing an identity by adopting selective elements of religion of their parents with strong dimensions of persona; choice.

Butler (1995)- interviews with 18-30 yr old Muslims women in Bradford and Coventry came up with similar findings. While these women had some attachment to the religious values of their culture, and saw religion as important in shaping their identities they also challenged some of the restrictions that traditional Asian Muslim culture imposed on them and wanted more choice and independence in their lives.

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Second generation

Modood (1994)

  • 2nd gen Muslims are not as religious as their parents. Flout 'no alcohol' rule. This is because they have been socialised into a wider culture and their ethnic identity is not as important to them.
  • Knott- Young Asian women experience difficulties with their parents over demands on how they dress- often clash with expectations to wear the hijab.
  • Butler (1995)- young Muslims women understand they can dress in a western way and still follow Islam, indicates that this trend towards cultural hybridity, where religion is separated from other aspects of culture. This allows individuals to maintain their identity as Muslim etc. while embracing mainstream British cultural values.
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Second generation

Watson (1994)

  • Carried out study, showed many Muslim women who dressed in modest Muslim way saw it as liberating rather than oppressive. Wearing veil protected them against patriarchy than religious oppression. Freed them from unwanted male attention.
  • Wearing non-western clothes is also way of maintaining an Islamic identity for Muslim men- can refuse to wear ties.

Ramji (2007) Research into gender and religion among young Muslims found that Islam is way for Muslim men to secure dominant gender identity. Males in sample held patriarchal attitudes which they justified with Islam. One participant said that it was 'hareem' (un-Islamic) to have a women working in the family. Whole sample felt women have duty to be modestly. Some believed as well as covering up this involved staying in the private sphere.

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