Ticking “no religion”: A case study amongst “young nones”

In the 2011 Census in England and Wales, 14.1 million people, about a quarter of the population, reported that they have “no religion”. At the time, campaign groups such as the British Humanist Association claimed that this meant these people were “non-religious”. But is this necessarily the case? M...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Diskus
Main Author: Wallis, Simeon
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2014]
In:Diskus
Year: 2014, Volume: 16, Issue: 2, Pages: 70-87
Online Access: Volltext (Kostenfrei)
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Summary:In the 2011 Census in England and Wales, 14.1 million people, about a quarter of the population, reported that they have “no religion”. At the time, campaign groups such as the British Humanist Association claimed that this meant these people were “non-religious”. But is this necessarily the case? Might those who ticked “no religion” be closer to the 46 million adult “nones” in America, who the Pew Research Center described as “religious without religious affiliation”? Or might it be better to characterise these respondents as “a-religious”? This article discusses findings from qualitative research with 14- and 15-year-olds in England who similarly identify as having “no religion”. It describes these young people‟s understandings and constructions of “religion”, made during photo-elicitation interviews, as well as their reasons for choosing to tick the “no religion” box in response to the religion question taken from the 2011 Census. Implications are drawn about concepts employed by researchers in the burgeoning field of nonreligion and secularity studies, as well as the methods used by researchers of youth and religion in the social sciences. In particular, questions are raised about value of survey and interview research that asks young people to choose particular self-identities or respond to statements of religious belief and value that may have little relevance to their lives.
ISSN:0967-8948
Contains:Enthalten in: Diskus
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.18792/diskus.v16i2.42