Youth Religious Socialization and Social Capital. A Case Study
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Political Science Department of Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Publication date: 2023-12-15
Studia Politologiczne 2023;70
This research focuses on the role played by youth religious organizations in the shaping of young people’s social capital in Romania. Based on a series of interviews and focus groups with young people engaged in religious organizations and the leaders of those organizations, we find that youth religious socialization is an important process in creating or reinforcing social and political values, and thus, it may be conducive to social capital. Although nuanced comparisons across denominations are difficult to make due to the unavailability of data, a distinction seems to appear between Orthodox and Catholic religiously active youth. For example, while young people in Catholic organizations are encouraged to forge relationships with people outside their organizations (bridging social capital), those belonging to Orthodox groups tend to keep to themselves, and, at times, even employ a strict access policy for newcomers wanting to join (bonding social capital). Conclusions suggest the need to approach the effects of youth religious socialization in a nuanced way.
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