Youth and Belief: Belonging to Connected Selves

Abby Day

in Believing in Belonging

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577873
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731143 | DOI:
Youth and Belief: Belonging to Connected Selves

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In the UK and most Euro American countries, successive generations seem to be less religious than their parents are. It is argued here that while young people may resent religious impositions and creeds as they struggle to find where they belong in an ever-expanding universe of alternatives, they have their own views of morality and authenticity. By analysing young people’s belief narratives, the chapter explores how they believe in institutions, ideas and people with whom they feel they belong. Those may not include religious institutions, which many young people find uncompromising and dictatorial, as they negotiate boundaries of belonging, participating consciously in self-constructing ideas of relationships, morality, religion, family, and meaning. Rich ethnographic detail and reflections provide insights into the researcher’s role and experience participating in classrooms and interviewing young people. Although young people often spoke affectionately and respectfully of their elders, the emotion is often not reciprocated. This study found a preponderance of distrust and disdain on the part of older people as they described young people. This opens up questions about ‘socialisation’ and its relationship to belonging.

Keywords: youth; belief; belonging; generation; religion

Chapter.  10125 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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