SAGE Journal Articles
Journal Article 12.1: Wallace, M., Wright, B. R. E., & Hyde, A. (2014). Religions affiliation and hiring discrimination in the American south. Social Currents, 1(2), 189–207. doi:10.1177/232949651452251
Abstract: This article describes a field experiment in which we sent fictitious résumés to advertised job openings throughout the American South. We randomly altered the résumés to indicate affiliation in one of seven religious groups or a control group. We found that applicants who expressed a religious identity were 26 percent less likely to receive a response from employers. In general, Muslims, pagans, and atheists suffered the highest levels of discriminatory treatment from employers, a fictitious religious group and Catholics experienced moderate levels, evangelical Christians encountered little, and Jews received no discernible discrimination. We also found evidence suggesting the possibility that Jews received preferential treatment over other religious groups in employer responses. The results fit best with models of religious discrimination rooted in secularization theory and cultural distaste theory. We briefly discuss what our findings suggest for a more robust theory of prejudice and discrimination in society.
Learning Objective: 12.4: Compare the functionalist and conflict perspectives on religion.
Summary: The authors execute an experiment by sending resumes to businesses in the South. They found that discriminatory hiring practices were being used to exclude practitioners of certain religious affiliations.
Journal Article 12.2: Lichterman, P. (2008). Religion and the construction of civic identity. American Sociological Review, 73(1), 83–104. doi:10.1177/000312240807300105
Abstract: Studies of religion’s public roles typically concern the ways in which religious frameworks justify opinions and actions. This article draws from participant-observation research to show how people also use religion to define the boundaries of group identities and relationships. Importantly, people do this in situation-specific ways that we cannot predict from people’s religious reasons for public actions. Evidence comes from two religiously-based organizations sponsored by the same local religious coalition, studied during 1998–2000 in a midsized U.S. city. One group is an alliance of lay people representing different churches, who organized volunteering and community development projects with a low-income minority neighborhood. The other is an alliance of clergy, representing different churches, that organized public events against racism. In each case, group members used religious terms to argue sharply over civic identity despite sharing the same religious reasons for their goals. Resolving the disputes required redefining or reemphasizing the boundaries of collective identity. The dynamics highlighted in my analyses provide new ways of understanding how people use religion to include or exclude others in civic relationships. Even more broadly, they reveal how religion can enhance or impede collaboration across social status and religious divides.
Learning Objective: 12.1: Explain the components and functions of religion.
Summary: One of the functions of religion is to forge social cohesion and community identity. This article explores how religious identity can impede or enhance the likelihood of civic engagement and mobilization efforts.
Journal Article 12.3: Perry, S. L., & Schnabel, L. (2017). Seeing is believing: Religious media consumption and public opinion toward same-sex relationships. Social Currents, 4(5), 462–481. doi:10.1177/2329496516686616
Abstract: An extensive literature demonstrates that religion is a key determinant of Americans’ social and political attitudes. This literature, however, has neglected an important measure of everyday religious practice, preference, and socialization: religious media consumption. We take a key social issue where attitudes have been shown to be largely shaped by religion—same-sex relationships—as an example to determine whether religious media consumption predicts social attitudes net of the measures typically included in the literature on religion and attitudes: affiliation, practice, and literalism. We draw on data from three national surveys, each of which contains different measures of religious media consumption and attitudes toward various same-sex relationships: the 1998 General Social Survey, 2005 Baylor Religion Survey, and 2012 Portraits of American Life Study. Both multivariate and propensity score matching analyses demonstrate that religious media consumption independently predicts lower support for same-sex relationships in all three surveys. We propose that religious media consumption is a key measure of religious practice, preference, and socialization that shapes Americans’ views toward social issues through both direct messages and by fortifying subcultural boundaries.
Learning Objective: 12.6: Understand how social trends regarding same-sex relationships affect core affirmations and policies of faith communities.
Summary: In this article, the consumption of religious media is associated with disapproval for establishment of marriage equity by extending these rights to same-sex couples.