Religiosity and Social Groups (Gender and religiosity (Evidence suggests…
Religiosity and Social Groups
Very little research into religious participation of social classes.
Ashworth and Farthing (2007) found church going mainly associated with middle class than working class.
Found those who had middle class jobs had a higher frequency of church attendance than those with working class jobs.
Those reliant on state benefits were least likely group to regularly attend church.
Other research: YouGOV survey 7000 adults in 2005, 62% regular churchgoers are middle class.
2012 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey 73% manual workers claimed never attended a religious service.
Voas and Watt (2014) attendance in rural churches 2X as high as urban parishes, Church attendance higher in South of England than the North- more common in middle than working class.
Glock argued some social groups maybe attracted to sects and cults because of experience with different types of deprivation. Poorest social groups experience economic deprivation leading to interest in cults or sects to cope with deprivation.
Participation by age
Voas argued people born before 1945 more likely than those born after 1975 to state God definitely exists and believe in God. Those born after 1975 2X more likely to say they don't believe in God. 2013 study , 25% after 1975 didn't believe in God.
Participation by age
Brierly (2014) 6.3% children under 10 regularly attended church in 2010. 4% 15-1 yr olds regularly attend church. 3% people after age of 20. Suggesting a decline in religion.
Why are older people more religious?
Ageing effect- view people turn to religion as become older, when people approach death they become concerned about spiritual matters, e.g. afterlife.
Disengagement- people become detached from society as they get older. Retirement and death of friends often results in social isolation, leading to interest in religion.
The generational effect- view that each new generation is less religious than last- most children no longer receiving a religious upbringing.
Why are young people less religious?
Declining attraction of religion. Brierly 87% 10-14 yr olds found church boring, uncool and old fashioned. Young people have more interesting ways to spend their time.
Individualisation- Collins Mayo argues young people in past felt compelled to follow religious rules but British culture has become more individualistic.
Increased spiritual choice, religion competes with other belief systems more attractive to young people today rather than traditional system.
Gender and religiosity
Evidence suggests women more religious than men, regardless of age. 2007, 57% of regular churchgoers are female in comparison with 41% who were male. Bruce argued women routinely describe themselves as religious with stronger commitment.
Heelas and Woodhead found women more active in New Age Movements than men. 80% of active pp's were female and 78% of new age groups in Kendal headed by women.
Surveys shown women are more likely to believe in aspects of supernatural such as premonition, fate, ghosts and angels.
Explanation of gender and religiosity:
Grace Davie argues women feel closer to God and tend to be more religious because they are involved in the creation of life through pregnancy and giving birth. Bruce has suggested that a women's caring and emotional role could have an impact on their religious beliefs and has led them to be more religious.
Functionalist explanation- Parsons argued that women tend to be more religious because their main role as the housewife and home maker, have more time for religious activities and are more likely to take part in religion as a source as a source of personal identity.
Risk theory explanation- Shekrat (2002) argues men are more willing to take more risks and therefore less religious because they are more willing to gamble that God and the afterlife don't exist.
Evidence suggests that Muslims, Hindus and Black Christians see religion as more important than white Christians do.
The English Church census 2005 found 10% of churchgoers were black. Statistic is at least 3x higher than the proportion of black people in the population (3.3%)
O'Beirne found white Christians rarely see religion as central to their identify factors, e.g. employment, family, nationality were considered to be more important.
Most minority ethnic groups in UK originate in societies with high levels of religiosity- when groups migrate to a new society, their religious beliefs are taken with them.
Reasons why ethnic minorities have higher religiosity
Cultural transition- Religion can be used as a means of coping with stresses of migration- can help ease the transition of new immigrants into a new society's culture.
Bruce argues that once a group has successfully settled into a society, commitment to religion may start to weaken.
Asssimilation- When an immigrant group take on cultural/social and political characteristics of their host population.