Scholarly article on topic 'The Effect of Cultural Capital of Families on Youth Religious Identity'

The Effect of Cultural Capital of Families on Youth Religious Identity Academic research paper on "Sociology"

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Abstract of research paper on Sociology, author of scientific article — Elahe Mohammadrezaie, Azar Gholizadeh, Asghar Aghaei, Majid Toghyani

Abstract This study examines the relationship between familial cultural capital and the religious identities of youth. The statistical community comprised youths between 18 and 30 years of age currently studying undergraduate courses at the Islamic Azad University of Khorasgan (Esfahan). The sampling method was random graded, and 370 students were selected for statistical sampling. Statistical analysis of the resultant data was performed at two descriptive and analytical levels. The results showed that there is no significant relationship between a family's cultural capital and the children's religious feelings and beliefs. There is a negative relationship between a family's cultural capital and the practical dimension of religious identity, according to the Pearson coefficient.

Academic research paper on topic "The Effect of Cultural Capital of Families on Youth Religious Identity"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 30 (2011) 1736 - 1741

WCPCG-2011

The effect of cultural capital of families on youth religious identity

Elahe Mohammadrezaie*, Azar Gholizadeh, Asghar Aghaei, Majid Toghyani

Khorasgan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Esfahan, 81595158, Iran

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between familial cultural capital and the religious identities of youth. The statistical community comprised youths between 18 and 30 years of age currently studying undergraduate courses at the Islamic Azad University of Khorasgan (Esfahan). The sampling method was random graded, and 370 students were selected for statistical sampling. Statistical analysis of the resultant data was performed at two descriptive and analytical levels. The results showed that there is no significant relationship between a family's cultural capital and the children's religious feelings and beliefs. There is a negative relationship between a family's cultural capital and the practical dimension of religious identity, according to the Pearson coefficient.

© 2011Published by ElsevierLtd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the 2nd World Conference on Psychology, Counselling and Guidance. Keywords: Cultural capital, Religious identity, Family, Youth;

1. Introduction

Although the concept of culture has a long history, the concept of cultural capital is new, and its cognitive dimensions have not yet been fully investigated. The wide application of this concept became prevalent in Western sociology during the second half of the twentieth century, when the concept was taken to mean the power to recognize and the ability to use cultural goods. Despite being a new concept, cultural capital has found a special place in scientific circles, especially among social researchers. In Iran, the need to pay attention to culture and cultural capital has recently become clearer to scholars and politicians.

According to development experts, cultural capital is indicative of cultural development. Considering the importance of attaining cultural capital, policymakers require a full understanding of it, its representative relationship to growth, and the way it changes to provide necessary resources. Thus, the scientific study of the cultural capital of various social classes can be taken as a predictor variable in the analysis of sociocultural issues such as social identity, political participation and academic performance (Sharepour and Khoshfar, 2002).

This research has been inspired by Pierre Bourdieu, the famous French sociologist of cultural capital, and is intended to theoretically and practically analyze cultural capital and determine its relationship to religious identity (Edwards, 2008).

In 1964, Bourdieu and his colleagues were faced with a methodological problem while engaged in field research; he designed the concept of cultural capital in response. His specific problem was the fact that economic barriers and experiences seemed inadequate to explain, interpret, and analyze the unequal academic achievements of children

* Elahe Mohammadrezaie. Tel.: +98-311-5354001; fax: +98-311-5354033. E-mail address: elahe.mr@hotmail.com.

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the 2nd World Conference on Psychology,

Counselling and Guidance.

doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.335

from different social classes. Thus, he introduced cultural capital as a supplementary factor in those inequalities. By cultural capital he meant the habits, manners, dispositions, and cultural moods which are transferred to the children by their families almost as inheritances (Lareau and Weininger, 2003); in some circumstances, they convert to economic capital and can become institutionalized in the form of an educational profile (Bourdieu, 1983). In psychology, identity and sense of identity are considered the components of a personality profile. A sense of identity is simply what people feel about their mental lives and their cohesion in the face of the changing circumstances of the outside world. This, according to the psychology of identity, produces a stable human. Identity arises when one encounters the "other"; this "other" can be another individual, community, or, psychologists maintain, a new role that a person must assume. This identity arises whenever we compare ourselves to others. Ericsson also holds that identity formation is simply meant to identify who you are, what you value, and what life direction you want to follow (Burke, 1997).

Kang et al. (2000) show that youth with high functioning families have stronger identities. Bhushan (1993) found that family and identity performance are related and that family environment is an important factor in the growth of Indian youth. George (1997) reports that the health of the family leads to identity growth and is a significant factor in adolescent identity.

The urge to love and worship is one of the innate human needs; a person will, independent of any indoctrination, tend to worship God. The manifestation of this desire shows itself in the exercise of religious behavior. Human relationships to religion can be placed in the category of "religious identity" (Sharafi, 2007). A religious identity is an individual's role in reproducing religious institutions in his society or the degree of importance patterns of religious interaction have in his life. People, and especially young people, are affected by their past experiences; these will condition the way they regard current conditions and look to the future. In reproducing the religious institutions of Iran, youth are also building their society and producing new social and religious identities. Iran contains elements of a traditional culture but also includes traces of the global culture, which guarantee more options than a traditional society would have made available to young people (Imanpour and Soroush, 2003). Obviously, the implication of the development of a religious identity is commitment to and responsibility for the beliefs of the religion in question. Some experts consider commitment to be the cornerstone of religious identity (Sharafi, 2007).

Social thinkers and theorists are exploring the many different aspects of identity. Current global communications, the growth and development of various technologies, and continuing cultural confrontations are just some of the phenomena that have heightened the importance of identity, including its religious dimensions. This issue will become crucial to the young because they are capable of having a particularly deep impact on their communities through their power and abundant energy. They can easily change the social, cultural, and political directions of their societies: they can provide their societies with cultural security, or they can provide them with cultural adversity. In our society, with its large youth population, the young are the creators of our future and will thus play a major role in planning and population policies; therefore, understanding their identities is a sensitive and crucial project.

Studies have so far either reviewed the relationship between academic achievement and cultural capital or have generally confined their attention to the connection between cultural capital and social identity. On the other hand, given that the family plays an important role in the socialization process by transmitting its many values and norms to the persons, this research attempts to assess the status of the cultural capital of the family and define its relationship to the religious identity of youth.

2. Research Methodology

The methodology in this research was correlational-descriptive. The population in this study included all the undergraduate students (except medical and paramedical majors) of Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan (Esfahan) branch, during the 2009-2010 scholastic year; these totaled 9495 (3878 boys and 5617 girls majoring in various fields of study) according to data from the Statistical Centre of the university. The sample size was 370, based on the sample table in terms of population (Hassanzadeh, 2009); the majors were considered separately, and a number of subjects were selected for each major and sex according to the formula.

Because this study's population consists of several fields, stratified random sampling according to sample size was used. The reliability of the questionnaire was estimated by Coronbach's alpha coefficient. The religious identity

Elahe ModK-mrmrdreza-el et al. SProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 30(2011) 1736 - 1741

questionnaire reliability coefficient was calculated using SPSS software. The result was 0.94, indicating high reliability.

During the data review, the scores associated with all variables were examined using the Klomogrof-Smirnof test; then, after ensuring that the scores were normally distributed, researchers decided to use parametric statistics. For this purpose and in order to present descriptive findings that included frequency, percentage, mean, and inferential statistics (including Pearson correlation coefficients), SPSS version 18 was used.

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Cultural capital offamilies and youth religious identity: feelings dimension

According to the results shown in Table 1, the highest mean score regarding students' feelings about religious identity belongs to question 5 ("Worshiping brings peace to the mind"), with a mean of 4.61. The lowest mean belongs to question 8 ("Wisdom must be taken into account in social life not religion"), with a mean of 3.42.

The results in Table 2 show that the correlation coefficient between the cultural capital of families and youths' feelings about religious identity is not significant (p > 0.05). Thus, the first hypothesis was not confirmed: there is no relation between the cultural capital of families and youths' feelings about their religious identity.

Table 1. Frequency distribution and percentages of the answers to the questions related to students' feelings about religious identity

No Question Completely agree Agree No idea Disagree Completely disagree Mean

1 I take spiritual pleasure Frequency 232 92 27 7 5 4.48

in prayer percentage 63.9 25.3 7.4 1.9 1.4

2 I admire myself for being a Frequency 230 73 39 9 12 4.37

Moslem percentage 63.4 20.1 10.7 2.5 3.3

3 Islam is the only perfect religion Frequency 244 50 40 12 17 4.35

in the world percentage 67.2 13.8 11 3.3 4.7

4 I feel happy to live in an Islamic Frequency 180 65 61 24 33 3.92

country percentage 49.6 17.9 16.8 6.6 9.1

5 Worshiping brings peace to the Frequency 267 68 19 2 7 4.61

mind percentage 73.6 18.7 5.2 0.6 1.9

6 All religions are right; the way Frequency 168 101 60 21 13 4.07

they reach the truth is different percentage 46.3 27.8 16.5 5.8 3.6

7 My religious beliefs form my Frequency 153 123 59 17 11 4.07

attitudes towards life percentage 42.1 33.9 16.3 4.7 3

8 Wisdom must be taken into Frequency 105 78 77 71 32 3.42

account in social life, not religion percentage 28.9 21.5 21.2 19.6 8.8

9 There is no meaning in life Frequency 258 74 20 7 4 4.58

without worshiping God percentage 71.1 20.4 5.5 1.9 101

Table 2. The relationship between families' cultural capital and youths' feelings about religious identity

Variable Pearson coefficient Number Significance

Cultural capital and youths' feelings about religious identity -0.07 363 0.17

It should be noted that religion has been part of Eastern and Western life since ancient times. People with a strong religious identity have never been disappointed, despite facing difficulties in achieving their goals, because, even in the most difficult circumstances, there is someone whose name comforts them: this worship of God is the core of a religious identity. In this study, 73.6 percent of the sample believes that prayer calms the human spirit. In agreement with our findings, Ghanei et al. (2004) report that nearly 92 percent of young respondents in Mashhad city believe that Islamic faith brings order and health to society; 92.8 percent of them also believe that life is meaningless without faith.

3.2. Cultural capital offamilies and youth religious identity: beliefs dimension

Table 3 shows that the highest mean score for answers concerning the students' beliefs concerning religious identity belongs to question 14 ("Koran is the word of God and it is really true"), with a mean of 4.57. The lowest mean belongs to question 10 ("To be religious, it is only necessary to believe in God"), with a mean of 3.37.

Table 4 indicates that the correlation coefficient between the cultural capital of families and religious identity -related beliefs was not statistically significant (p > 0.05); thus, there is no relationship between the cultural capital of families and youths' beliefs about religious identity. Therefore, the second hypothesis is rejected and cannot be approved.

Table 3. Frequency distribution and percentage of responses to questions about youths' religious identity-related beliefs

No Question Completely agree Agree No idea Disagree Completely disagree Mean

10 To be religious, it is only Frequency 110 68 69 79 37 3.37

necessary to believe in God percentage 30.3 18.7 19 21.8 10.2

11 I am committed to my religious Frequency 106 104 65 62 26 3.55

beliefs without doubt percentage 29.2 28.7 17.9 17.1 7.2

12 I am ready to tolerate any disaster Frequency 119 93 92 33 26 3.67

because of my belief percentage 32.8 25.6 25.3 9.1 7.2

13 I believe in paradise and hell Frequency percentage 245 67.5 73 20.1 29 8 5 1.4 11 3 4.47

14 Koran is the word of God and it Frequency 262 62 31 3 5 4.57

is really true percentage 72.2 17.1 8.5 0.8 1.4

15 Reading the Koran gives an Frequency 252 66 37 2 6 4.53

effective pattern to life percentage 69.4 18.2 10.2 0.6 1.7

16 I believe that praying joins us to God and is necessary for salvation Frequency percentage 246 67.8 73 20.1 32 8.8 5 1.4 7 1.9 4.5

Table 4. The relationship between families' cultural capital and youths' religious identity-related beliefs

Variable Pearson coefficient Number Significance

Cultural capital and youths' religious identity-related beliefs -0.09 363 0.07

These results are similar to the findings of Serajzadeh (1999) concerning the attitudes and behaviors of Tehrani adolescents which showed that 85.7 percent reported a belief in resurrection. Religion encompasses many different phenomena; no matter how narrowly we define our scope, there will always remain interstitial departments. It can be difficult to determine the boundaries separating religion from its opposite, and we must thus describe as religious anything that has a religious function to avoid omissions. The students in our study seem to have a broad concept of religion and religious belief: to them, knowing God is not enough; having other moral virtues is also important.

3.2. Cultural capital of families and youth religious identity: practical dimension

Table 5 shows that the highest mean score in this study for the students' practice of religious identity belongs to question 27 ("One must be honest in trade under all circumstances"), with a mean of 4.48. The lowest mean belongs to question 22 ("I take part in rituals such as celebrations for the birth of religious leaders"), with a mean of 3.34.

According to the results shown in Table 6, the correlation between cultural capital and youths' practice of religious identity is significant at p < 0.05. Accordingly, there is a relation between cultural capital and youths' practice of religious identity; thus, the third hypothesis is verified. However, since the correlation is negative, this relation is reversed: an increase in familial cultural capital lowers youths' practice of religious identity and vice versa (i.e., a decline in familial cultural capital will increase youths' practice of religious identity).

These results are in line with those obtained by Abbasi Esfejir (2004), who showed that daily worship through prayer (77.5 percent) and fasting (78.3 percent) were performed more often than acts such as participating in Friday and congregational prayers, reading the Koran, and participating in mourning ceremonies.

1740 ElaheMolmmmadrezaiel et al SProcedia - SocialandBehavioralSciences30(2011) 1736 - 1741

Table 5. Frequency distribution and percentages of the answers to questions related to the practical dimensions of students' religious identity

No Question Completely agree Agree No idea Disagree Completely disagree Mean

17 I feel obliged to perform religious Frequency 238 67 40 9 9 4.42

acts of praying and fasting percentage 65.6 18.5 11 2.5 2.5

18 I try to participate in Frequency 106 79 104 30 44 3.47

congregational prayers percentage 29.5 8.21 28.7 5.3 12.1

19 As far as possible, I perform Frequency 74 110 122 33 24 3.48

recommended prayers percentage 20.4 30.3 33.6 9.1 6.6

20 I will try to respect all religious Frequency 136 116 75 18 18 3.92

prohibitions and obligatory acts percentage 37.5 32 20.7 5 5

21 I think our country's communal rituals bring psychological comfort to people Frequency percentage 139 38.3 91 25.1 61 16.8 27 7.4 45 12.4 3.69

22 I take part in rituals such as celebrations for the birth of Frequency 94 82 94 42 51 3.34

religious leaders percentage 25.9 22.6 25.9 11.6 14

23 I participate in Moharram Frequency 183 84 55 11 30 4.05

mourning rituals percentage 50.4 23.1 15.2 3 8.3

24 I take every opportunity to go to Frequency 150 111 68 14 20 3.98

holy places for pilgrimage percentage 41.3 30.6 18.7 3.9 5.5

25 Adolescents and young people should be subjected to religious authorities in religious matters Frequency percentage 124 34.2 72 19.8 97 26.7 29 8 41 11.3 3.57

26 If the order to do good and avoid evil acts is denied, corruption will follow Frequency percentage 137 37.5 82 22.6 78 21.5 23 6.3 43 11.8 3.68

27 One must be honest in trade under Frequency 239 77 33 11 3 4.48

all circumstances percentage 65.5 21.5 9.1 3 0.8

28 Most of the time, a vow will solve Frequency 171 111 57 11 13 4.14

a man's problems percentage 47.1 30.6 15.7 3 3.6

29 Hijab is a religious principle and a Frequency 145 71 75 25 47 3.66

social necessity percentage 39.9 19.6 20.7 6.9 12.9

Table 6. The relationship between families' cultural capital and youths' practice of religious identity

Variable Pearson coefficient Number Significance

Cultural capital and youths' practice of religious identity -0.16 363 0.001

The results of this study agree with other relevant studies, including Ghiasvand (2000) and Myrsendsy (2005). Ghiasvand (2000) studies the process of young peoples' religious socialization and finds that family, friends, and university had a more direct effect on student sociability and religious beliefs than the performance of religious rites. Myrsendsy (2005) reports that the relationship between global media and religiosity was negative and that parental education sometimes had a significant relationship with some types of religiosity.

Although the age of communication and information technology has arrived and people now have sufficient knowledge concerning the teachings of the emancipator religion Islam, important challenges confront Islam and threaten Islamic values and Muslim culture. As the results of this study demonstrate, most people perform personal religious acts such as prayer and fasting, allowing us to conclude that the private practice of religion is important to people. This fact highlights the significance of religion and shows that it is still a psychological reality for which modern man more than ever feels the need. Nevertheless, we note that only a small percentage of students admitted to having participated in collective rituals like congregational prayers and ceremonies for the birth of religious leaders.

In conclusion, the results of this study affirm that increased familial cultural capital has given families greater access to films, satellite, and internet and that this has resulted in a lowered practice of religious identity.

References

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