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Title: Spirit of our age : dimensions of religiosity among Scottish youth
Author: Wiltshire, Susan
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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The aim of this thesis has been to establish whether any form of religiosity plays a role in the lives of young people in modern Scotland. Religiosity, a derivative of religion, has generally been equated with institutional Christianity. This situation is particularly chronic in the literature addressing the notion of secularisation, a theoretical strand informing the study. During the teenage years, research suggests that many different types of organisational activities, such as church-going are relinquished. Indeed, church attendance figures are diminishing across most age groups, but regular church-going declines dramatically during the transition between primary and secondary school, gaining full downward momentum in the mid to late teens. However, this thesis argues that it might be a mistake to deduce that at this stage of life religiosity declines in all spheres, the suggestion being that how the situation is viewed depends entirely upon what is meant by religion and religiosity. If religiosity is considered broadly, beyond the scope of institutional manifestations, facilitating a fuller engagement with people’s beliefs, what at first seems to have little resonance and significance becomes more clearly discernible. The case for more qualitative research in the sociology of religion is urged for two main reasons. Firstly, to facilitate an attempt at understanding the meanings actors attribute to religion and the role this may play in their lives. Quantitative studies are unable to reveal such complex nuances. Secondly, qualitative approaches enable a broader understanding of modern expressions of religiosity, and do not limit manifestations of religiosity to mainstream Christianity. This research explores an eclectic range of beliefs held amongst both non-church-goers and regular church-goers in Edinburgh. Whilst it is not possible to argue that these beliefs represent any sort of system, the data shows respondents engaging with what they term ‘spirituality’, as an array of available cultural resources predominantly during life crises, and also during more ordinary routine behaviours. Some beliefs appear to be linked to earlier beliefs held as younger children, especially during primary school exposure to Christianity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available