Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Youths in Germany and Religious Diversity in Daily Life

In: Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context

Even in developed Western welfare states, economic disparity is on the increase and a growing segment of children and young people is affected by poverty and social exclusion. Despite its growing social and political relevance, the focus on socio-economic situation as a dimension of heterogeneity to religion has mostly been neglected in researching youth, religion, and identity. Furthermore, socio-economic aspects have been overlooked in conceptual discussions on religious education in Germany for a long time.

This chapter presents the findings of a doctoral project that studied the role of religion in the lives of socially disadvantaged adolescents in Hamburg on an empirical, qualitative basis. The study included 36 young people from Christian, Muslim and non-religious backgrounds aged between 14 and 16 years. The chapter focuses on the question, how marginalized youths deal with religious diversity in daily life. It shows that the adolescents constantly renegotiate their religious identity vis-à-vis the religious Other in a process that is variously influenced by aspects of socio-economic inequality. The chapter gives impulses for theory development on youth, religious identity and socio-economic situation as well as for religious and interreligious education in contexts of social marginalisation.

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