The relationship between religion and volunteering is well documented (Putnam and Campbell, 2010; Ruiter and De Graaf, 2006), and a prevalent hypothesis for the association is that the effect of religion is mediated through religious social networks. However, research on this relationship has largely been conducted on majority Christian populations in the United States and Europe. In this study, we use two data sets, the European Values Study (1999-2008) and the Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (2010) to examine this relationship in Britain on the general population and ethnic minority population, respectively. The results suggest that religion increases volunteering primarily through bonding rather than bridging social networks. We also find that in non-Christian religions, solitary and collective religious rituals may both have an effect on civic participation, but whereas the effect of service attendance is mediated through bonding social networks, the effect of prayer is mediated more through bridging networks. Finally, values of individual autonomy and generalized trust are associated with non-religious, but not religious, participation, suggesting an alternative secular ethos of civic engagement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science