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Title: Religious involvement as social capital : its nature and implications for integration in Britain
Author: Huang, Yinxuan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 2545
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Scholars in America have suggested that religion serves as a mechanism that fosters social capital and facilitates integration (Putnam, 2000; Wuthnow, 2002). This PhD thesis aims to investigate whether this observation also holds in Britain, which is becoming more secular and has a different pattern of immigration. It seeks to contribute to existing knowledge in this field by addressing the nature of religious involvement and its implications to integration in Britain. Drawing on the Citizenship Survey data, this thesis conducts rigorous analyses on the sociocultural characteristics of religious involvement, the connection between religious involvement and social capital, and the effects of religious involvement on cultural integration (termed ‘identity bridging’) and civic and economic integration (termed ‘status bridging’). A range of statistical methods are used in the thesis, including some advanced techniques such as structural equation modelling and Heckman selection model. The empirical analysis finds that religious involvement can be classified in different forms according to patterns in religious community participation and degree of subjective religiosity. Results in the analysis also suggest that participation in religious organizations is underpinned by both formal and informal participation, which coincides with Putnam’s (2000) notion of ‘maching’ and ‘schmoozing’. Different forms of religious involvement are shown to have distinct sociocultural characteristics, which are embedded in differences in social standings and cultural identities. The thesis finds that religious community participation serves as a mechanism for social capital, as it does it America. Compared to non-participants, individuals who are active in religious participation appear to have a much richer stock of social capital. ‘Maching’ is found to be related to greater engagement in volunteering in the wider community and social trust, while ‘schmoozing’ is found to be positively associated with social trust. Overall, the analyses provide evidence that religious community participation in general contributes to both identity bridging and status bridging. Individuals who are involved in ‘maching’ and ’schmoozing’ are shown to be more successful in cultural, civic, and economic integration. By contrast, individuals who are not involved in religious community participation, not least those having high subjective religiosity, are often found to be underachieving in most domains of integration. However, there is also some evidence suggesting that the social implications of ‘maching’ and ‘schmoozing’ are considerably distinct. Under most circumstances, ‘maching’ appear to play a more important role in integration compared to schmoozing. Finally, the analyses in this thesis show that patterns of the association between religious involvement and integration vary significantly across different ethno-religious groups in Britain. The results point to the variations in immigrant-related characteristics in religious participation, which is linked to the history of immigration and their recent experiences in British society.
Supervisor: Li, Yaojun ; Heath, Anthony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available