• Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 11-03-14 09:14

Ethnicity and Religion

There is evidence to show that ethnic people are MORE religion than white British people....

1) Differences in styles of worship
Religion is more important to the identity of ethnic people i.e. 71% of Africans, 74% of Muslims and 45% of Hindus claimed that religion was an important part of their identity compared to only 10% of whites.
Ethnics also attended sacred places more than whites, for example Africans of ALL AGES attended Pentecostal Churches because they were less formal, more spontaneous, fun and lively which attracted more people than the Christian church

AO2: Davie claimed that white British people can also be religious they just chose to practise religion in a different way i.e. 'believing but not belonging' i.e. watch religious TV at home and join the electronic church online
Similarly, Bird claimed that ethnic people may be attending church for the community experience and to build friendship networks- not to be religious

2) Solidarity and belonging
Durkheim argued that ethnic people in the UK felt that by attending church in the UK they were more able to assimulate and feel a greater sense of belonging. They could feel united, etc

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However, religion was not always able to assimilate the ethnic minority people into Western countries because many of them have DENOMINISED them....

  • 70% of people in the UK were CHRISTIANS- cutural values and norms reflect christian attitudes and beliefs which makes it harded for others to feel a sense of belonging
  • There has been growing sense of Islamphobia
  • Muslims in the USA and the UK had associated them with Islamic Terrorists
  • After the 9/11 attacks happened, people were more fearful of them- caused them to feel rejected from western societies
  • Even as early as the 19th century, the bombings in the USA that killed almost 200 people, this was immediatly blamed on Muslims when in fact it was the white American extremists that had done it

This shows that it is hard for the ethnic minority people to assimilate into a different society

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3. Culture Defence and Culture Transition
Bruce claims that religion is used as a form of culture defence which helps people cope with being in a hostile environment where there is growing Islamphobia i.e. Africans experienced racism in tradional Christian churches so built their own Pentecostal churches- which explains large growth of pentecostal churches within last decade

Herberg argues that people use religion as a form of culture transition because moving from one culture to another is never an easy transition so people need religion to help them adjust to their new environment

AO2: However, NOT all ethnics are religious and perhaps this is exaggerated. The last census of England and Wales found that over half of Chinese people were not religious and 3/4 of other ethnic groups claimed that religious was not important to them

Bruce also claimed that over time, the generally secualr nature of the UK will erode the importance of religion to ethnic minority groups

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4) Margenalised

It was found that some ethnic groups are margenalised, which explains why they are more religious than whites.This is where they feel they are outside the mainstream of society and are not receiving the economic rewards and status they feel as though they deserved
For example:

  • elderly Asian people felt that they were margenalised because they could not speak english very well
  • Africans in the Uk felt margenalised because over 63% of them were living in poverty

They turned to religion to provide them with a 'theodicy of dispriveledge' which is a resligious explanation and justification to explain why they are suffering and they were promised a better afterlife to compensate for their current suffering

AO2: However, not all groups felt margenalised and so did not feel the need to turn to religious. I.e. Indians were generally not in a deprived state in the UK and had all the material resources they needed so did not need religioun to provide them with a 'theodicy of dispriveledge'

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Young Ethnics and Religion

4) Young ethnics were also religious
i.e. Young Africans regulalry attended PenteCostal Churches
Samad found that for young Muslims, religion was an important part of their identity i.e. it provided them with a positive role model which kept them away from drugs and alcohol, helped them cope with Islamphobia
Johal looked at 'Brasians' in the UK, young people who were British/ Asian and he found that they still saw religious as IMPORTANT to their identity but they also tried to integrate within the new British society and culture
For example, they were religious but still wanted to marry whoever they wanted, not have an arranged marriage.
The balance between their own religion and new culture is known as CULTURE HYBRIDITY

AO2: However, young ethnics did NOT have the same religious fervous as their parents...

  • Some young Muslim girls refused to wear the hijab
  • They found it hard to stick to the 'no alcohol rule'
  • Weber claimed that they have become rationalised, skeptic of religion and turned to science instead
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