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Purpose – Previous studies have found that, for those born after 1960, individuals raised with no religious affiliation were less likely than any other religious group to…
Purpose – Previous studies have found that, for those born after 1960, individuals raised with no religious affiliation were less likely than any other religious group to complete a college degree. This finding is surprising in light of the increasing educational attainment of the American public, as well as the finding that declining religious belief is often presumed to accompany higher education. In this chapter, we explore the changing relationship between religious nonaffiliation and educational attainment for Americans over the past three decades.
Methodology – In order to disentangle the mechanisms behind this relationship, we consider the heterogeneity of nonaffiliates and examine educational attainment for three types of religious “nones.” Using the General Social Survey (1972–2008), we look for cohort differences in attaining a bachelor's degree among persistent nones, disaffiliates, and adult affiliates.
Findings – While being raised in no religious tradition was once predictive of higher odds of completing a college degree, the positive relationship between being raised a religious none and college completion has reversed itself in the past 30 years. Instead, for individuals born after 1960, being raised in no religious tradition is actually associated with lower odds of completing a 4-year college degree relative to adults who were raised in any religious tradition and continue to claim a religious identity in adulthood. This effect is particularly pronounced for adults who maintain no religious identity throughout the life course.
Social implications – We propose some explanations for this finding, with a particular emphasis on the potential significance of religious social networks in adolescence.
Purpose – In this chapter, we advance research on the socioeconomic ranking of religious groups by using both income and wealth to document the rankings of the six major…
Purpose – In this chapter, we advance research on the socioeconomic ranking of religious groups by using both income and wealth to document the rankings of the six major religious groups in the United States – Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, black Protestants, and the religiously unaffiliated – during 2001–2007, a period marked by both catastrophic economic losses and widespread economic gain.
Design/Methodology/Approach – Drawing from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID), we provide descriptive statistics to explore the socioeconomic differences among the six major religious groups. In addition, we note their ownership rates and changes in wealth and income during 2001–2007.
Findings – Overall, these findings point to enduring stratification in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on median net worth, leading into the Great Recession, the six major religious groups ranked in the following order: Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, the unaffiliated, and black Protestants. At the same time, these findings point to the upward mobility of white Catholics, who increased their income and made the greatest increase in net worth between 2001 and 2007. These data also suggest a decline in the socioeconomic status of the religiously unaffiliated as compared to previous studies.
Research implications – These findings illustrate the degree to which certain religious groups have access to wealth and other resources, and have implications for how the years leading into the Great Recession may have influenced households’ vulnerability to financial shocks.
Originality/Value – We use both income and wealth to examine whether different religious groups experienced any changes in income and wealth leading into the 2008 economic downturn.
The association between religion and material well-being is fundamental to research on inequality and stratification. Broadly considered, this association includes questions about how religious affiliation and religiosity are associated with work behaviors, education, income, wealth, and related family processes. Early social sciences debated if and how these traits and outcomes are related and offered important insight into the mechanisms that might explain empirical patterns (Simmel, 1997; Sombart, 1911; Weber, 1905/1930). However, the religious landscape and the mechanisms creating religion and well-being have both changed dramatically since the early days of the social sciences. The proliferation of Protestant denominations, the changing role of Catholics, and the increased presence of other religious traditions are beyond the scope of these early works. Moreover, the relationship between religion and stratification is no longer a function of large-scale shifts in the mode of production but rather reflects changing individual and group approaches to human capital, work, and saving. In the 1960s, sociologists revived these debates, but empirical challenges and a narrowing of the discussion to focus on Protestant–Catholic differences weakened and ultimately ended the literature's momentum (Broom & Glenn, 1966; Glenn & Hyland, 1967; Laumann, 1969; Lazerwitz & Rowitz, 1964; Lenski, 1961).
Purpose – This paper considers the role of relationality as an interpretive strategy in the workplace, asking how one group of low-wage workers interpret their jobs in the…
Purpose – This paper considers the role of relationality as an interpretive strategy in the workplace, asking how one group of low-wage workers interpret their jobs in the service economy.
Methodology – Qualitative interviews with 25 female retail workers.
Findings – I argue that these retail workers use a relational ethic to interpret various aspects of their work. Relationality colors workers’ understanding of their job responsibilities, their own accounts of self-development in the workplace, and their strategies for resolving conflict on the shop floor.
Practical implications – These findings are particularly relevant for current labor union activities, and thus I conclude by discussing the implications of this relational ethic for attempts to organize workers in the retail sector. Workers who prioritize relationships ahead of material gains in the workplace may be particularly uncomfortable with more confrontational styles of labor organization.
Originality/Value of paper – Economic sociologists increasingly stress relational aspects of the economy, such as the role of networks in enabling market transactions; the significance of social ties in shaping economic exchange, and the importance of economic activity in constituting relationships themselves. This paper builds on that framework by arguing that workers also use a relational ethic to interpret their activity within the workforce itself.
Purpose – This introductory essay to an edited volume proposes possible contributions from economic sociology to the study of work broadly defined. Weber had a vision of economic sociology as a study of not only economic phenomena but also economically relevant and economically conditioned phenomena. Work, in its market and nonmarket variety, falls in all these categories and thus presents a fruitful research arena for economic sociologists who have thus far primarily studied markets and corporations.
Methodology/Approach – The essay provides an analytic review of literature in economic sociology, uses information from the content analysis of recent publications in sociology of work, and provides an overview of chapters included in this edited volume.
Value of paper – Applying economic sociology to work means: (a) investigating its embeddedness in social structures, culture, and politics; and (b) uncovering the socially constructed nature of what constitutes paid market work. This article also proposes that economic sociologists can expand the boundaries of work by examining such activities as care work, work in the informal economy, and prison work.