Young People and the Diversity of (Non)religious Identities in International Perspective: Introduction

  • Heather Shipley
  • Elisabeth ArweckEmail author
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE)


Youth and (non)religion is an area of academic interest that has been gaining increasing attention, especially as it pertains to youthful expressions of (non)religion and identities. The present introduction sketches the contours of this field of study in order to situate the contribution which this collection makes to this field. This volume builds bridges between geographies and methodologies by bringing together current research on young people, (non)religion, and diversity, documenting the forms young people’s stances may take and the social or spatial contexts in which these stances may be formed. Social contexts include the family, school, and faith communities; spatial contexts include (sub)urban and rural geographies and places of worship and pilgrimage. The chapters are organised around three themes, which emerged from the contents of the chapters themselves: Society and Institutions; Identity and Experiences; Gender and Sexuality. However, the chapters themselves overlap and intersect across these themes as the boundaries of identity definitions, narratives, and conflicts are studied and expressed across multiple national contexts. The authors contributing to this volume represent different academic disciplines, thus promote constructive dialogue between them and offer new research insights arising from the range of studies focusing on young people and (non)religious identities.


  1. Álvarez, A. V., Rosón, F. J. L., & Dietz, G. (2011). Under the shadow of Al-Andalus? Spanish teenagers’ attitudes and experiences with religious diversity at school. British Journal of Religion Education, 33(2), 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arweck, E. (2013). ‘I’ve been christened, but I don’t really believe in it’: How young people articulate their (non-)religious identities and perceptions of (non-)belief. In A. Day, C. R. Cotter, & G. Vincett (Eds.), Social identities between the sacred and the secular (pp. 103–125). Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Arweck, E., & Jackson, R. (Eds.) (2013). Religion, education and society. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Aune, K., & Stevenson, J. (Eds.) (2016). Religion and higher education in Europe and North America. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Beaman, L. G., & Van Arragon, L. (Eds.) (2015). Issues in religion and education: Whose religion? Leiden: Brill Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Beyer, Peter, & Ramji, R. (2013). Growing up Canadian: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bullivant, S. (2008). Sociology and the study of Atheism (research note). Journal of Contemporary Religion, 23(3), 363–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campbell, H., Lynch, G., & Ward, P. (2009). ‘Can you hear the army?’: Exploring Evangelical discourse in Scottish youth prayer meetings. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 24(2), 219–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cherry, C., Deberg, B. A., & Porterfield, A. (2001). Religion on campus. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  10. Collins-Mayo, S., Mayo, B., Nash, S., & Cocksworth, C. (2010). The faith of Generation Y. London: Church House Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Davies, D., & Guest, M. (2007). Bishops, wives and children: Spiritual capital across the generations. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  12. Freitas, D. (2008). Sex and the soul: Juggling sexuality, spirituality, romance, and religion on America’s college campuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Guest, M., Aune, K., Sharma, S., & Warner, R. (2013). Christianity and the university experience: Understanding student faith. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  14. Halafoff, A., & Gobey, L. (2019). ‘Whatever’?: Religion, youth, and identity in 21st-century Australia. In P. L. Gareau, S. C. Bullivant, & P. Beyer (Eds.), Youth, religion, and identity in a globalizing context (pp. 255–277). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  15. Höllinger, F., & Smith, T. B. (2002). Religion and esotericism among students: A cross-cultural comparative study. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 17(2), 229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hopkins, P. (2004). Young Muslim men in Scotland: Inclusions and exclusions. Children’s Geographies, 2(2), 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hunt, S., & Yip, A. K.-T. (Eds.) (2012). The Ashgate research companion to contemporary religion and sexuality. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  18. Jacobsen, D., & Jacobsen, R. H. (2012). No longer invisible: Religion in university education. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jacobson, J. (1997). Religion and ethnicity: Dual and alternative sources of identity among young British Pakistanis. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 20(2), 238–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jakobsen, J., & Pellegrini, A. (2003). Love the sin: Sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance. New York: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lewis, P. (2007). Young, British and Muslim. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Manning, C. (2015). Losing our religion: How unaffiliated parents are raising their children. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mondal, A. A. (2008). Young British Muslim voices. Oxford: Greenwood World Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Nesbitt, E. (2000). The religious lives of Sikh children: A Coventry based study. Leeds: Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Leeds.Google Scholar
  25. Pearce, L. D., & Denton, M. L. (2011). A faith of their own: Stability and change in the religiosity of America’s adolescents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Phillips, A. (2011).. The faith of girls: Children’s spirituality and transition to adulthood. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  27. Rasmussen, M. L. (2010). Secularism, religion and ‘progressive’ sex education. Sexualities, 13(6), 699–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Regnerus, M. (2007). Forbidden fruit: Sex and religion in the lives of American teenagers. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shipley, H., & Young, P. D. (2015). Christianity, gender and identity among Canadian youth. In S. J. Hunt (Ed.), Handbook of global contemporary Christianity (pp. 327–345). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  30. Singh, J. (2010). Head first: Young British Sikhs, hair, and the turban. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 25(2), 203–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Singh, J. (2012). Keeping the faith: Reflections on religious nurture among young British Sikhs. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 33(3): 369–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith, C., & Denton, M. L. (2005). Soul searching: The religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Smith, C., & Smith, P. (2009). Souls in transition: The religious and spiritual lives of emerging adults. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor, Y., & Snowdon, R. (2014). Mapping queer, mapping me: Visualising queer religious identity. In H. Shipley (Ed.), Globalized religion and sexual identity: Contexts, contestations, voices (pp. 295–312). Leiden: Brill Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Vincett, G., & Olson, E. (2012). The religiosity of young people growing up in poverty. In L. Woodhead & R. Catto (Eds.), Religion and change in modern Britain (pp. 196–202). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Vincett, G., Olson, E., Hopkins, P., & Pain, R. (2012). Young people and performance Christianity in Scotland. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 27(2), 275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Voas, D., & McAndrew, S. (2012). Three puzzles of non-religion in Britain. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 27(1), 29–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. von der Lippe, M. (2011). Young people’s talk about religion and diversity: A qualitative study of Norwegian students aged 13–15. British Journal of Religion Education, 33(2), 127–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wallis, S. (2014). Ticking ‘no religion’: A case study amongst ‘young nones’. Diskus, 16(2), 70–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wilcox, M. M. (2008). Queer women and religious individualism. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Yip, A. K.-T., & Page, S.-J. (2013). Religious and sexual identities: A multi-faith exploration of young adults. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  42. Young, P. D. (2015). Who speaks for religion? In L. G. Beaman & L. Van Arragon (Eds.), Issues in religion and education: Whose religion? (pp. 307–320). Leiden: Brill Academic Press.Google Scholar
  43. Young, P. D., & Shipley, H. (2014). ‘Belief not religion’: Youth negotiations of religious identity in Canada. In J. Wyn & H. Cahill (Eds.), Handbook on child and youth studies (pp. 861–873). Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Classics and Religious StudiesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Education StudiesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations