RELIGION AS SOCIAL IDENTITY - KONID SURVEY 2019 REPORTS
[su_expand more_text="more" less_text="less"] Findings of a representative survey on the social role of religious and social identities in Germany and Switzerland 2019: The new research approach of the KONID project aims to identify religious identities in the context of their social references in a differentiated way and thus more precisely than before. The first results of which are presented in this report. The research project aims to describe the significance of religious affiliations and attributions to religious groups (such as "Catholics", "Jews", "Muslims" etc.) on the individual level as well as in society and its groups and to analyse and explain the effects of religious identities on living together. For this purpose, religious identities are compared with other social identities, which are important to people or by which they are divided into groups and are examined in a country comparison between Germany and Switzerland. The KONID Survey 2019 has surveyed no less than 21 possible social identities and placed them in their social and religious contexts.
The KONID Survey 2019 surveyed the significance of religion for social identities in a multi-thematic, country-comparative representative survey of the population in Germany and Switzerland aged 16 and older, paying particular attention to Muslim minorities. In both countries, more than 3,000 people were surveyed from spring to summer 2019. The central findings are the following:
- - Religion is a formative and structuring factor for social identities in the complex societies of Germany and Switzerland. For many people, their religious affiliation or Weltanschauung is important as a social identity. In Germany, 57 percent of the population rate religion as an important social identity. In Switzerland, 50 percent consider their religious identity to be important.
- - While identification with religion often plays a lesser role within the two major church traditions of Christianity, one's own religious identity is of central importance for members of the free churches and Muslims in particular. After all, for about 30 per cent of those who do not (any longer) belong to any religious community, the fact of not-belonging is important for their own social identity.
- - In both countries, however, religion is not the most important social identity. Above all family affiliation and belonging to a circle of friends and acquaintances rank clearly before religion. In addition, it is striking how important engagement and voluntary work is for the self-image of those who volunteer. · The social impact of religion as a social identity is ambivalent. Religion divides – and unites.
- - Religious social identities are the object and cause of discrimination. The extent of religious discrimination experienced in Germany and Switzerland is moderate overall, but discrimination is much more common among members of the free churches and Muslims. At the same time, religion serves many people as a social identity that can be used to create social distance and to exclude others. A good quarter of Christians do not consider marrying non-Christians. Around 40 per cent of Muslims reject non-Muslims as marriage partners. The rejection is even higher among members of free churches in Switzerland (53%), but not in Germany (15%).
- - The KONID Survey 2019 also surveyed how the interviewees draw the line between democratic community and religious truth. A supremacy of religious truths and views over the constitution or even the willingness to use violence for one's own faith is rare. If so, then such positions are more pronounced among Muslims and members of free churches. The decisive finding, however, is that a certain degree of agreement occurs across all religious denominations. The politically relevant problem is therefore to get a general overview of dogmatic or fundamentalist positions that tend to extremism and to address them together with the religious communities. In other words, this is not a genuine problem of "Islam" as religion.
- - Religion is also socially productive. Religious affiliation and religiosity increase voluntary commitment. Religion-related voluntary commitment promotes contact between people who otherwise do not meet in everyday life. Such commitment can build bridges. The survey also shows that those for whom their religious identity is important also regard interreligious dialogue as important. This dialogue is most strongly advocated by religious minorities and in particular by Muslim interviewees. Here a great potential becomes visible that is socially available for such a dialogue. Moreover, this potential rests in an almost complete consensus on the value of the right of freedom of religion in both countries. Even so, religious diversity can connect and promote society.
- - Particularly surprising: Despite the increasing complexity of the construction of social identities among individuals, religion in Germany and Switzerland is a factor in society as a whole that structures social identities in a lasting way. A cluster analysis shows five configurations of social identities for both countries, in which religion and community/nation are constitutive features to distinguish them. In particular, more research is needed here.[/su_expand]
RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AND PREJUDICE
[su_expand more_text="more" less_text="less"]Conceptual considerations and empirical findings from Germany and Switzerland 2020: Again and again references are made between religion and prejudice. On the one hand, religious groups serve as targets of prejudice, and on the otherhand, there is debate about the extent to which the claim to truth of religions makes religious people more vulnerable to prejudice. The article uses the current KONID Survey 2019 to examine both questions empirically and in a comparative way across countries. Despite individual deviations in the characteristics and references of prejudices, the structures of prejudices, their explanation and their democratic effects arevery similar in Germany and Switzerland. Religious communities and their members become the focus of prejudice primarily because of fears of threats among the population, but also because of conspiracy theories and authoritarian attitudes. A dogmatic, exclusivist and partly fundamentalist religious identity acts as a promoter of prejudice, while a liberal religious identity counteracts anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim racism, but also anti-Gypsyism and the rejection of non-binary gender identities.[/su_expand]
RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AS THE CENTRE OF RIGHT-WING POLITITCS?
[su_expand more_text="more" less_text="less"] Conceptual considerations and empirical findings from Germany 2020: If we look at current efforts by radical right-wing parties, then identity politics plays a central role in the mobilization of voters. In the identity constructions of "us and them", religious affiliation plays a major role. Muslims in particular become the target of negative attribution. The fears existing in parts of the German population offer the possibility of demarcation. The resulting polarization, which is based on emotions, offers right-wing ideologues opportunities for mobilization, who often close their minds to rational counterarguments. Identitarian demarcation also applies to Jews. Thus, Muslim immigration is instrumentally directed against Jews and Muslims at the same time via conspiracy theories of repopulation.[/su_expand]