Mirya R. Holman and Erica Podrazik
Religiosity is a combination of public and private religious practices, beliefs, and experiences. While diversity exists in how religiosity is measured, three central components are consistent across the scholarship: organizational religious engagement, non-organizational religious activities, and subjective religiosity. To measure organizational religious engagement, scholars frequently look at church attendance and participation in congregational activities. Non-organizational religious activities include frequency of prayer, reading the Bible or other religious materials, or requesting others to pray for you. Subjective or intrinsic religiosity includes self-assessed religiousness (where respondents are asked, “How religious would you consider yourself?”) or strength of affiliation, as well as specific beliefs, such as views of the afterlife, hell, and whether the Bible is the literal word of God.
Various groups express different levels of religiosity. One of the most well-documented and consistent group-based differences in religiosity is that women, including white women and women of color, are more religious than are men across religions, time, and countries. Women report higher rates of church attendance, engagement in religious practices (including prayer and reading the Bible), and more consistent and higher levels of religious interest, commitment, and engagement. Many explanations for these gaps in religiosity exist including differences in personality and risk aversion, gendered socialization patterns, and patriarchal structures within churches. Scholars have engaged in robust debates around the degree to which explanations like risk assessment or gender role theory can account for differences in religious behavior between men and women. Yet unresolved, these discussions provide opportunities to bring together scholarship and theories from religious studies, sociology, gender studies, psychology, and political science.
Religiosity shapes a variety of important political and social attitudes and behaviors, including political ideology and participation. The effects of religiosity on political attitudes are heterogeneous across men and women—for example, highly religious women and men are not equally conservative, nor do they equally oppose gay rights. The process by which religiosity shapes attitudes is also gendered; for example, the effects of women’s religiosity on political attitudes and participation are mediated by gendered attitudes. And while religiosity increases political participation, the effects are not even for men and women, nor across all groups of women. Future research might examine the differing effects of religiosity on subgroups of men and women, including evaluations of how intersecting social categories like race, gender, and class shape both levels of religious engagement and the degree to which religiosity influences other political and social behavior.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Please check back later for the full article.
All over the world, indigenous peoples are engaged in domestic and international struggles over their ability to self-determine. Though the specific character and aims of each struggle are different, most resonate with the definition found in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which states in article 3 that “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.” The rights extended to “all peoples” under the UN Charter (1945) now explicitly include all indigenous peoples. On the other hand, the right to a State, or what could be called external self-determination, does not seem to follow as article 46, section 1, UNDRIP stipulates that “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group, or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.” Even singular documents like the UNDRIP highlight the tension that exists between indigenous peoples’ quest for self-determination and national majorities who exercise control over them through the international state system.
The topic of indigenous self-determination is approached from many angles. Legal positivists strive to understand the implications of legal documents like UNDRIP, the International Labour Organization Convention 169, treaties, domestic laws, and, increasingly, sui generis, indigenous law. In debates about the nature, extent, and importance of self-determination, normative political theorists continue to study relationships between territory, citizenship, sovereignty, colonialism, human rights, justice, and institutions including the various legal orders previously mentioned. Increasingly, and combining the legal and normative with the strategic, indigenous scholars have taken the lead in debates that evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various political approaches in promoting and securing what they believe to be their inherent right to self-determination under difficult circumstances. These range from local cultural revitalization to international indigenous social movements, and often involve evaluating trade-offs between direct action and co-operation with states or between treaty negotiations versus legal actions. In summary, indigenous self-determination is a broad field of study with many approaches, most of which endeavour to understand and ultimately help achieve the emancipation of indigenous peoples from centuries of problematic colonial relations.