Believing in belonging: an ethnography of young people’s constructions of belief

Day, Abby. 2009. Believing in belonging: an ethnography of young people’s constructions of belief. Culture and Religion, 10(3), pp. 263-278. ISSN 1475-5610 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Evidence from a three-year case study suggests that how young people discuss their beliefs reflect where they define and locate legitimate sites of power, meaning and authority. For many young people today, religion is an insufficient source and mode of belief and belonging. The findings discussed here suggest an orientation to family, friends and other social relationships as legitimate and sufficient sites for locating belief, authority and transcendence. I argue that the young people studied do not holds beliefs to be ‘true’, in that they are propositional creed-like statements. Young people have shifted the meaning of belief to describe affective relationships in which they feel they belong. Such a shift necessitates a relocation of the transcendent to the everyday and social. That shift is particularly evident as young people discuss how they continue their relationships with deceased loved ones.

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Believing, belonging, ethnography, religion, youth

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24 July 2009Accepted
16 November 2009Published

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04 Jan 2017 15:07

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 14:38

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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