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Religion, Religiosity, and Cultural Stratification: Theoretical Links and Empirical Evidence

Religion, Work and Inequality

ISBN: 978-1-78052-346-0, eISBN: 978-1-78052-347-7

ISSN: 0277-2833

Publication date: 23 April 2012


Purpose – Religion is an important driving force behind many lifestyle decisions. Therefore, it is surprising that research on cultural consumption and stratification has linked religion and religiosity with consumption patterns only to a limited degree. In this chapter, we outline several theoretical directions that can be used for studying the link between religion, religiosity, and cultural consumption and the consequences of this link for cultural stratification.

Design/Methodology/Approach – Our empirical analysis is based on data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), conducted in 2007 and pertaining to samples from 33 countries.

Findings – We present cross-national evidence illustrating that, first, there is a positive correlation between religiosity and cultural consumption in many countries and, second, there is little evidence that religion is significantly linked to cultural consumption. Furthermore, we find that the effect of religiosity on cultural consumption is comparable to that of important socioeconomic factors such as education and socioeconomic status. We offer three possible explanations to the findings. First, that religious individuals tend to be active individuals; therefore, they go more often to religious services and they are active also in cultural participation. Second, a certain level of religiosity affects cultural consumption by setting standards for the intensity of social ties. Third, religiosity plays a central role in marking boundaries of cultural distinction. In the last part of the chapter, we delineate motivations for further research interest in the link between religion and cultural consumption and discuss possible avenues for the development of such research.


Katz-Gerro, T. and Meier Jaeger, M. (2012), "Religion, Religiosity, and Cultural Stratification: Theoretical Links and Empirical Evidence", Keister, L.A., Mccarthy, J. and Finke, R. (Ed.) Religion, Work and Inequality (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 337-366.



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