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The importance and limitations of ‘Choice’ in child-rearing practices for non-believing older adults

Malone, Joanna Louise (2023) The importance and limitations of ‘Choice’ in child-rearing practices for non-believing older adults. Religion, 53 (2). pp. 335-357. ISSN 1096-1151. (doi:10.1080/0048721x.2023.2186960) (KAR id:100996)


Rising numbers of ‘religious nones’ across many former Christian liberal democracies have brought about increasing academic research to understand this growing population. Questions remain, however, about the mechanisms involved in processes of secularisationr and the growth of non-religion. This article draws on a qualitative study of non-believing older adults in England, reflecting on their practices of child-rearing and socialisation in the second half of the twentieth century, a period identified as crucial to secularisation processes in the UK and elsewhere. Discussions around the importance of ‘choice’ for children in relation to religion are central to participants’ narratives, yet it is shown how freedom of choice is more complex in reality. It also reveals how notions of ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ in relation to religion can reflect certain social structures, such as gender, and could sit in tension with respondents’ own wishes and desires.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/0048721x.2023.2186960
Uncontrolled keywords: Non-belief; non-religion; religion; gender; secularisation; socialisation; transmission; parenting practices
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: University of Kent (
John Templeton Foundation (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2023 14:07 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 08:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Malone, Joanna Louise.

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