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From socialization to self-socialization? Exploring the role of digital media in the religious lives of young adults in Ghana, Turkey, and Peru

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Abstract

Previous research has pointed to the central role of media for the current young adult generation when it comes to finding information about religion, exploring beliefs, and developing a religious identity. This article explores how young adult university students in three different contexts – Ghana, Turkey, and Peru – report using digital media for religious purposes. The article builds on previous research on the role of media in religious socialization and explores the usefulness of the notion of self-socialization in a transnational study. The studied contexts are all shown to differ when it comes to levels of self-reported religiosity and use of media for religious purposes. The article illustrates the independent use of digital media in all contexts and self-socialization taking place on a general level, but also highlights the continuous importance of traditional socialization agents, thus questioning simplistic understandings of the role of media in religious socialization.

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... However, this compilation of articles also includes texts that challenge traditional understandings of religious socialization. Moberg et al. (2019) build on the fast growing field of media, religion and socialization research and analyze the role of media in religious socialization in Ghana, Peru and Turkey. The article from Dahl et al. (2019), in turn, provide interesting insights into how young people understand the interplay between different socialization agents on their paths toward the non-religious worldviews they currently hold. ...
... While the interview and FQS data from YARG reflect the perspective of young adults at a more general level, perspectives of agency are especially prevalent in three articles in this issue. In their article on the use of media for religious purposes, Moberg et al. (2019) discuss the concept of self-socialization and the interrelated idea of agency (Arnett 1995(Arnett , 2007Heinz 2002). Their article ties into previous research on religion and media and tests how well notions of self-socialization can be argued to work in different contexts. ...
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Religious socialization remains a widely used concept amongst scholars who direct attention to the social patterns that underline the formation of religious attitudes. This article presents contemporary conceptualizations of religious socialization and provides an overview of how the concept is used in empirical studies. As the article sets the frame for the thematic issue at hand, it contains a presentation of the research project that the findings reported depart from. In line with the findings reported in the articles, we argue for an expanded understanding of religious socialization, formulated as four points. Finally, a definition of religious socialization that accounts for these four points is proposed.
... Other studies focus on detailing religious commitment and its relationship with civic and social values and with attitudes towards other groups [19,20]. Finally, there are studies that explore beliefs and religious identity development through the media [21]. ...
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This paper analyses the relevance of religion for adolescents in the realm of peer relationships, both within and outside of educational institutions. The sample consisted of 385 young individuals attending different Secondary Education institutions located in a Spanish province characterized by its cultural diversity. The tool used to collect the information was the REDCo questionnaire. The results of the data analysis indicate that young people confer a certain relevance to religion on an internal and personal level, and that they attribute a historical value to it as a discipline. They also relate the versatility of religion to changing processes regarding beliefs and belonging to a religious community. Therefore, dialogue becomes the key tool for social cohesion in multicultural societies beyond mere tolerance, creating spaces for mutual transformation and generating a symmetrical relationship between the “Self” and the “Other”.
... The religious vibrancy of Ghana (Golo and Yaro 2013) However, what is intriguing is the occupational environment, which is the high educational setting -the university environment -within which the research was carried out and the educational levels of the samples. This may be indicative that educational attainment does not necessarily influence the religiosity of individuals, which is also consistent with research findings among young university students in Ghana (Moberg et al. 2019). ...
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The relationship between religion and subjective well-being has received research attention in recent decades with mixed results, particularly related to life satisfaction, fewer traumatic outcomes, and happiness. With the assumption that the connection between religion and subjective well-being depends on the context and the religious certainty of participants and considering that majority of religion-well-being research were carried out predominantly in contexts of diminishing centrality of institutional religion and religious fervor, this paper specifically researches early career professionals with claims to religiousness and religious certainties in three of Ghana’s public universities. Using the mixed-method of research with two-hundred and thirty-six surveys and twenty-five in-depth interviews we found that our participants understanding of subjective well-being reflects the complexity of the subject. We also found that while their claims indicate a strong relationship between their religiosities and their well-being, particularly through religious meaning-making, these are not without elements of negative relationships. We conclude that, while the data offers some unique insights, it further supports the view of the complexities in the conclusions on religiosity and well-being.
... Considering that the present young adult generation is the first to have grown up in and become thoroughly socialized into social and cultural environments marked by the ubiquitous presence of digital media, they provide a particularly pertinent case for exploring the ways in which internet and digital media use has become intertwined with contemporary forms of religiosity and religious engagement and practice (e.g. Anderson, 1999;Lövheim, 2012;Moberg et al., 2019). ...
Article
This article is based on data gathered in the project Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective ( yarg 2015 ̶ 2019), which explored the values and religious subjectivities of young adult university students in thirteen different countries around the world. In a largely explorative fashion, the article focuses on the only two predominantly Muslim samples included in the project: Turkey and Muslims in Israel. On the basis of quantitative data, the article outlines the significant correlations found between respondents’ degrees of personal religiosity, frequency of religious practice, and levels of internet use for religion-related purposes. On the basis of qualitative data, the article then moves to explore how concerns about the trustworthiness of online content and the continuing influence of offline religious authorities work to shape and inform the online religious engagements of our Turkish and Israeli Muslim young adult respondents.
... The interviewees point out a wide range of sources of information and inspiration from which they construct their non-religious identities. The sources include scientific knowledge acquired at university, but also many media sources such as books and magazines, TV-programs, online lectures and websites (for more about the use of media, see Moberg et al. 2019). Many of the interviewees elaborate on the knowledge they have acquired by reading and learning. ...
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Studies of non-religion and youth raise questions regarding the conceptual usefulness of religious socialization. If religious socialization is studied only as the extent to which intergenerational transmission of religiosity occurs, the religious socialization of those who identify as non-religious falls out of the scope of research. This article explores the religious socialization of a group of university students from Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Israel who identify as non-religious. Interviews with these young adults allow us to explore the (religious) socialization of non-religious individuals in different contexts. The findings point to how the influence of socialization agents turned some of the students onto a path towards non-religion. Others, in turn, are characterized by family backgrounds where religion has not played any significant part. Our findings indicate that religious socialization, broadly construed, can be a useful perspective for understanding varying paths towards non-religiosity.
... In what partly reflects the approach to religious socialization outlined in the Introduction to this thematic issue (Klingenberg and Sjö 2019), our discussion aligns with an understanding of socialization that acknowledges the enduring presence of conventional socialization agents while simultaneously remaining attentive to the reflexivity and personal agency involved in young adults' adoption of the beliefs and religious behavioral patterns of older family members (cf. Moberg et al. 2019). This is followed by a general account of notable developments in the religious landscapes of Russia and Poland since the fall of the Iron Curtain, including a discussion of the enduring influence of grandparents in processes of religious socialization. ...
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Building on the findings of the YARG project, this article examines the enduringly central role of (great) grandmothers in the religious lives and religious socialization of young adults in Russia and Poland. The article highlights the complexities involved in studying the transmission of religious beliefs and values from one generation to the next in social and cultural contexts where religious socialization was severely interrupted for entire generations, and where the religious ‘chain of memory’ to varying extents has had to be forged anew. Arguing that current theoretical perspectives on religious socialization in post-socialist contexts need to be more attentive to extended understandings of family and kin, the article focuses on the enduring influence that (great) grandmothers exert in contemporary modes of religious socialization of children and young people in Russia and Poland. In light of survey data and in-depth interviews with young adult university students in Russia and Poland, the influence of (great) grandmothers is explored in relation to three main dimensions: the inspirational, the instructive, and the supportive. The article illustrates how (great) grandmothers continue to represent a religious element in the lives of Russian and Polish young adults regardless of their own religious engagements and degrees of personal religiosity.
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Reporting on responses from a survey of disaffected Mormons who utilize internet resources to manage feelings of distance from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this article explores the production of religious ambivalence online, arguing that ambivalence is not a default position for those too passive or afraid to leave, nor is it a failure of decisiveness or commitment. Rather, it is a produced religious mode that depends on robust socialization mechanisms to result in a strong sense of personal and collective identity. The online context enables, and indeed requires, an operationalization of religious ambivalence as both a socialization mechanism and a socialization outcome. Site users participate in a process of affective encapsulation, which both echoes and reshapes familiar Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tropes and practices and allows them to fashion a new understanding of Mormon identity with uncertainty at its center.
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L’étude turque sur la valeur conférée aux enfants a porté sur trois générations relevant de trois niveaux socio-économiques dans centre métropolitain et deux zones rurales. Les résultats ont montré qu’il y avait sur les trois derrières décennies un net accroissement des valeurs psychologiques attribuées aux enfants et une chute correspondante des valeurs utilitaires et économiques. La préférence pour le fils a été remplacée par la préférence pour la fille, ce qui traduit un changement de la dynamique et des rôles familiaux. Des modifications analogues dans ce qui est attendu des enfants, les qualités que l’on souhaite trouver chez cux et les nombres réels, désirés et idéaux d’enfants sont cohérents avec les attentes; le modèle du changement familial proposé par Kagitcibasi est ainsi confirmé. Les comparaisons des valeurs attribuées aux enfants sur les trois décennies par génération et niveau social aide à comprendre l’évolution et le changement social de la société turque, voire de sociétés comparables. The Turkish Value of Children Study consisted of three generations from three socioeconomic strata in a metropolitan center and from two rural areas. The findings showed a sharp increase in the psychological, and a corresponding decrease in the utilitarian/economic values attributed to children over the last three decades. Son preference has been replaced by daughter preference, pointing to changing family dynamics and family roles. Corresponding modifications in expectations from (adult) children, qualities desired in children, and actual, desired, and ideal numbers of children are in line with expectations, providing support for Kagitcibasi's Model of Family Change. Comparisons of values attributed to children over three decades and across generations and social strata provide insights for understanding social change and development in Turkish society and possibly in similar societies.
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In light of increased scholarly and public discussion about the proper position of religion in higher education, we take stock of existing social scientific studies to illuminate what we know—and what we don't know—about religion and higher education. We argue that research shows that college students are more religiously engaged than has traditionally been thought, but that this interest appears to be more broad than deep; that the college experience does not lead to apostasy in most students, though its effect on students' religious engagements is still unclear; and that religion has a beneficial effect on some student outcomes, but not on others. We conclude by proposing three new directions for research that offer the potential to expand our understanding of the interaction of religion and higher education.
Article
Gender differences in spirituality and related traits are an assumed reality despite the lack of empirical information that directly compares women and men. I used a national and longitudinal sample of 3,680 college students surveyed with the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey (2000) and later with the College Students’ Beliefs and Values (CSBV) Survey (2003) to examine gender differences on 13 spiritual characteristics and explore the personal and educational factors associated with changes in spirituality during college. The results showed marked gender differences in spiritual qualities, and gendered patterns of spiritual development were identified that are associated with religious identity, peer relationships, and science exposure.
Article
Because of the restructuring of work and deregulation of the labor market school-to-work transitions have been predicted to become destandardized. These structural changes will finally also erode Germany's renowned dual system of apprenticeship training. From an economic-structural point of view it is likely that young persons' social integration and biographical plans can no longer rely on this occupation-driven transition arrangement. Based on a quantitative and qualitative longitudinal study with young adults in two German labor-market regions, this exploratory study shows that the dual system not only trains for certain occupations, but also socializes for the contingencies of the labor market. The results are interpreted in the new conceptual framework of self-socialization, which links individual agency with social contexts across the life course in terms of a biography–environment fit. Applied to transition discontinuities and shifting contexts of career development, processes of self-socialization are reflected in different modes of biographical agency in the shaping of early employment careers. Self-initiated and enforced discontinuous employment and occupational change are mediated by various constellations of occupational contexts and modes of biographical agency. The study suggests that for young adults the dual system still provides skills and orientations for coping with career discontinuity.
Article
The goals of this research were to answer three questions. How predominant is religious searching online? How do people interact with Web search engines when searching for religious information? How effective are these interactions in locating relevant information? Specifically, referring to a US demographic, we analyzed five data sets from Web search engine, collected between 1997 and 2005, of over a million queries each in order to investigate religious searching on the Web. Results point to four key findings. First, there is no evidence of a decrease in religious Web-searching behaviors. Religious interest is a persistent topic of Web searching. Second, those seeking religious information on the Web are becoming slightly more interactive in their searching. Third, there is no evidence for a move away from mainstream religions toward non-mainstream religions since the majority of the search terms are associated with established religions. Fourth, our work does not support the hypothesis that traditional religious affiliation is associated with lower adoption of or sophistication with technology. These factors point to the Web as a potentially usefully communication medium for a variety of religious organizations.
Article
This article reports key findings from the first phase of a research project investigating Net generation age students as they encounter e-learning at five universities in England. We take a critical view of the idea of a distinct generation which has been described using various terms including Net generation and Digital Natives and explore age related differences amongst first year university students. The article draws on evidence from a survey of first year undergraduates studying a range of pure and applied subjects. Overall we found a complex picture amongst first-year students with the sample population appearing to be a collection of minorities. These included a small minority that made little use of some technologies and larger minorities that made extensive use of new technologies. Often the use of new technology was in ways that did not fully correspond with the expectations that arise from the Net generation and Digital Natives theses. The article concludes that whilst there are strong age related variations amongst the sample it is far to simplistic to describe young first-year students born after 1983 as a single generation. The authors find that the generation is not homogenous in its use and appreciation of new technologies and that there are significant variations amongst students that lie within the Net generation age band.
Article
Sociological theory originates in the asking of general questions about man and society. The answers lose their meaning if they are elaborated without reference to the questions, as has been the case in much contemporary theory. An example is the Hobbesian question of how men become tractable to social controls. The two-fold answer of contemporary theory is that man "internalizes" social norms and seeks a favorable self-image by conforming to the "expectations" of others. Such a model of man denies the very possibility of his being anything but a thoroughly socialized being and thus denies the reality of the Hobbesian question. The Freudian view of man, on the other hand, which sociologists have misrepresented, sees man as a social though never a fully socialized creature. Sociologists need to develop a more complex, dialectical conception of human nature instead of relying on an implicit conception that is tailor-made for special sociological problems.
Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens through the Twenties
  • Jeffrey Arnett
  • Jensen
Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen. 2000. "Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens through the Twenties." American Psychologist 55 (5): 469-480. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469.
Seeing the Forest and the Trees: How Emerging Adults Navigate Meaning-Making
  • Carolyn Barry
  • Mona M Mcnamara
  • Zena
Barry, Carolyn McNamara, and Mona M. Abo Zena. 2014. "Seeing the Forest and the Trees: How Emerging Adults Navigate Meaning-Making." In Emerging Adults' Religiousness and Spirituality, edited by Carolyn McNamara Barry, and Mona M. Abo-Zena, 3-18. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tercera edición. Lima: Centro de Estudios Constitucionales
  • Compendio Normativo