Secular or Nonreligious? Investigating and Interpreting Generic ‘Not Religious’ Categories and Populations

Lee, Lois (2014) Secular or Nonreligious? Investigating and Interpreting Generic ‘Not Religious’ Categories and Populations. Religion, 44 (3). pp. 466-482. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2014.904035) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2014.904035

Abstract

In research dealing with religious affiliation, generic nonreligious categories – ‘no religion’, ‘not religious’, ‘nonreligious’, ‘nones’ – are frequently used to measure secularity and secularisation processes. Analysis of these categories is, however, problematic because they have not received dedicated methodological attention. Using qualitative research conducted in the UK, this article investigates what nonreligious categories measure and, specifically, whether they indicate non-identification or disaffiliation as assumed or an alternative form of cultural affiliation. Findings suggest that generic nonreligious categories are sometimes used to express substantive positions and public identities, and that these are diverse. These findings flatten distinctions between religious and nonreligious categories as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ respectively and indicate problems therefore in using nonreligious identification to measure secularity and secularisation. They suggest nonreligious identification is, however, a useful indicator of the advance of nonreligious cultures and the ‘nonreligionisation’ of societies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: nonreligion and secularity, quantitative methods, atheist identities, indifference to religion, secularisation, nonreligionisation, religion in Britain, religious identities, disaffiliation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Religious Studies
Depositing User: Lois Lee
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2017 10:23 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2017 16:35 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60429 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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