Socioeconomic Advantage or Community Attachment? A Register-Based Study on the Difference in National Lutheran Church Affiliation Between Finnish and Swedish Speakers in Finland

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Sammanfattning

Secularization theory has been challenged by research showing religious persistence and upswing in contexts across the world. In Europe, particularly in highly secular and historically religiously homogeneous Nordic settings, there has been little research, and representative data for minority groups are rare. We offer a pioneering study using national register data to study religious changes over the past five decades in Finland, where the two native ethnolinguistic groups—Finnish and Swedish speakers—offer a unique study context. We use register data with yearly information on every individual's religious affiliation to compare the two groups, exploring the mechanisms behind any differentials. Swedish speakers are found to be consistently more affiliated with the National Lutheran Church than Finnish speakers. This finding contradicts the expectation of modernization theory because the Swedish-speaking population is, in some aspects, socioeconomically advantaged in Finnish society. The higher affiliation level of Swedish speakers can be partly explained by lower levels of internal migration, which is possibly driven by stronger community attachment. Our results suggest that community cohesion may help preserve the religious tradition of a minority group, even in the absence of socioeconomic disadvantages or threats from the majority.
OriginalspråkEngelska
TidskriftJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
DOI
StatusE-pub före tryck - 17 feb. 2024
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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