1st Edition

Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity

Edited By Elisabeth Arweck Copyright 2017
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    320 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Investigating the hitherto unexplored topic of how young people understand and relate to religious diversity in the social context in which they are growing up, this book makes a significant contribution to the existing body of literature on religious diversity and multiculturalism. It closes a gap in knowledge about young people’s attitudes to religious diversity, and reports data gathered across the whole of the UK as well as comparative chapters on Canada, USA and continental Europe. Reporting findings from both qualitative and quantitative research which reveal, for example, the importance of the particular social and geographical context within which young people are embedded, the volume addresses young people’s attitudes towards the range of 'world religions’ as well as non-religious stances and offers an interdisciplinary approach through the different analytical perspectives of the contributors.

    Part 1. Setting the Context

    1. The ‘Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity’ Project in the Context of Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) Research

    Robert Jackson & Ursula McKenna

    2. The Qualitative Strand: Listening in Depth

    Elisabeth Arweck & Julia Ipgrave

    3. The Quantitative Strand: An Individual Differences Approach

    Leslie J Francis, Gemma Penny & Mandy Robbins

    Part 2. Qualitative perspectives

    4. Sources of Knowledge and Authority: Religious Education for Young Muslims in a Birmingham Comprehensive School

    Julia Ipgrave

    5. Uniting Two Communities or Creating a Third Community? Research in a Northern Irish Integrated School

    Julia Ipgrave

    6. Cradling Catholics in Secular Scotland: Research in a Scottish Roman Catholic High School

    Julia Ipgrave

    7. The Matter of Context: The Case of Two Community Schools in Wales

    Elisabeth Arweck

    8. Religious Diversity as a Personal and Social Value: Impressions from a Multicultural School in London

    Elisabeth Arweck

    Part 3. Quantitative Perspectives

    9. Does RE Work and Contribute to the Common Good in England?

    Leslie J Francis, Gemma Penny & Ursula McKenna

    10. Testing the ‘Worlds apart’ Thesis: Catholic and Protestant Schools in Northern Ireland

    Leslie J Francis, Gemma Penny & Philip Barnes

    11. Growing up Catholic in Scotland: Not One Catholic Community but Three

    Leslie J Francis, Gemma Penny & Peter Neil

    12. Schools with a Religious Character and Community Cohesion in Wales

    Leslie J Francis, Gemma Penny & Tania ap Siôn

    13. The Personal and Social Significance of Diverse Religious Affiliation in Multi-faith London

    Leslie J Francis & Gemma Penny

    Part 4. International Engagement

    14. Young People and Religious Diversity: A Canadian Perspective

    Lori G. Beaman, Peter Beyer and Christine L. Cusack

    15. A Collage of Contexts: Young People and Religious Diversity in the United States

    Mary Elizabeth Moore

    16. Young People and Religious Diversity: A European Perspective, with Particular Reference to Germany

    Alexander Yendell


    Elisabeth Arweck is Principal Research Fellow in the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU), Centre for Education Studies, University of Warwick, and the Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Religion. Her recent research has focused on young people’s attitudes to religious diversity and the religious socialisation and nurture of young people. Recent publications include a number of co-authored articles (with Eleanor Nesbitt) and (co-edited) volumes, such as Religion and Knowledge (with Mathew Guest, Ashgate 2013), Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age (with Chris Deacy, Ashgate 2009) and Reading Religion in Text and Context (with Peter Collins, Ashgate 2006). She is the author of several book chapters and of Researching New Religious Movements in the West (Routledge 2007) and co-author (with Peter Clarke) of New Religious Movements in Western Europe: An Annotated Bibliography (Greenwood Press 1997).

    "This volume makes particularly valuable and original contributions to the public debate about religious diversity not only because it tackles such a ‘hot button’ topic but also because its approach foregrounds young people’s own opinions and attitudes. Contributors are also careful to clarify the theoretical debates in which their empirical investigations are grounded and the methods that they used to collect information. Readers will appreciate the book’s extensive scope as well as its intensive drilling down into robust findings about young people and their attitudes to religious diversity."

    - James A. Beckford, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Warwick

    "This book offers a fascinating insight into young people’s attitudes to religious diversity that ought to be obligatory reading for anyone concerned with supporting peaceful coexistence. The foregrounding of young people’s perspectives should be commended because this provision of agency gives rare and pertinent understanding into the defining experiences of a generation informing the future of the UK and its relations to the world. Scholars, teachers and policymakers will hopefully listen and take appropriate action so as to ensure social cohesion."

    - Louise K. Gramstrup, The University of Edinburgh in Journal of Beliefs & Values, 2017