Social groups and religiosity

Detailed notes on CAGE (class, age, gender and ethnicity) and their participation in religious activity. :)

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Class and religious participation

Lower class according to Weber are more religious, he thinks that sects apeals to groups that are marginalised- people who are on the ouitskirts of mainsteam society and so are often poor and feel that they are not reciving their economic rewards. One solution is a 'theodicy of disprivilege'- Explanation as to why their members are disprivilged and promising them a 'sense of honor' in the form of an afterlife.

This is simular to the Marxist view that religion offers explanation as to why the poor are poor and the rich are rich in thats it it is Gods will. In this christian hymn  "The rich man at his castle the poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly" the above point is demonstated.

Neo-marxist liberation theology states that religion is a voice for the poor. Manduro said that clergy express the discontent of the opressed, help them to become conscious of their situation, and work with them to devise stragities of action.


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AO2 of class

.AO2- Not just the poor!

Middle class, certain members feel relative deprivation. These people feel deprived not interms of material wealth but feel spiritually deprived in a world that is too materalistic, lonely and impersonal. Membership into a sect offers purpose, a sense of importance and a social network.

Young M/C often join world rejecting sects to kick back at traditional systems. They may also join due to the increasing gap between childhood and adulthood creating an increasing number of young people who lack adult responsiblities and have less to loose.

Many M/C people join client cults such as scientology which require money to buy into them. Members make a commitment to pay for classes/services.

M/C celebs are also attracted to cults such as Tom Cruse who is an outspoken advocate for scientology

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Age and religious participation

The general pattern is that older generations are more religious. Why is this? Voas and Crockett offer two explanations- The aging affect- As we get older and near death we become more concerned with life after death and forgiveness for past wrong doings. Generational effect- society becomes more secular with each new generation. Older people are not more religious because they are closer to death but merely because when they grew up religion was popular. This is supported my Modood who found that second generation Muslims were less religious, they flounced alcohol ban and wore western clothes.

 Middle aged are most likely to join NRMS(new rel movements) as they are attracted by the offer of a route to success. world accommodating/world affirming NRMS are often accepted by wider society so members can still keep a job. Flexible involvement is also offered through Internet courses.


The young are less religious due to education which has made them more rational.




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AO2 of age



Not all young people are secular. Pentecostal churches have high numbers of younger congregations.



World rejecting sects attract younger people due to the offer of radical and immediate solutions to social and personal problems.


Christianity has made attempts to reach out to the young through youth groups and music festivals such as soul survivor which attempts to bring teens closer to Jesus and attract thousands of young people.

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Gender and religious participation

Women are more religious in 1944 Grace Davie found that 84% of women believed in God compared with 75% of men. Why?


Miller and Hoffman- women are more religious because they are socialised into qualities that are valued by religion such as passivity and obedience. These qualities are not valued in men.


Greely- Women are responsible of their children’s ultimate welfare and may turn to the church for advice and to relieve pressure.


Davie- caring for the sick and elderly and through child birth women see life enter and exit the world this brings them closer to the ultimate questions that religion offers.


New age movements appeal women because they are individualistic, members map their own spiritual route, based on self-improvement women are looking for ways to improve themselves.

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AO2 of gender

AO2- Surveys show that women have shown a dramatic drop in church attendence in the last two decades.

Sunday school and volunteering among women also has diminished. Particully in the USA- Two decades ago, half of all women read the Bible in a typical week -- other than at religious events. Now 40 percent do. Could this be due to the the pressure of the triple shift (job, housework and childcare) or are women breaking free of patriarcal traditional religions??

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Ethnicity and religion

Britain is multicultural, with 70% of all religious people being Hindu or Muslim.

Bruce explains the religiousity of ethnic minorites as due to cultural defence, he sees religion as promoting community solidarity through culture and language in a hostile environment. A way of coping with oppression. In the case of black African and Caribbean Christians, many found that white churches in the UK did not actively welcome them so they founded black-led churches.

Cultural transition- A way of easing the transition into a new culture by providing support. Pryce - did a study of the African Caribbean community in Bristol showed both cultural defence and transition has important. Pentecostalism helped them adapt by encouraging self-reliance and thrift as well as supply mutual support.

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Charlotte Tyler


Apologies, some of the text has been cropped off, will edit this when i get chance :D

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