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Between Construction and Deconstruction of the Universes of Meaning

Research into the Religiosity of Academic Youth in the Years 1988 – 1998 – 2005 – 2017

by Sławomir H. Zaręba (Volume editor) Marcin Zarzecki (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 232 Pages

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of contributors
  • Homo consumens, homo eligens, homo creator – Processes of fragmentation of religious life among university students1
  • Topoi of the Decalogue. Universes of purpose. The new morality
  • Christian Decalogue: Between acceptance and marginalization
  • Sense of meaning in the life of university students – Between continuity and change
  • Constancy in changeability – Attitudes and judgments of some moral attitudes
  • Deligimitization of religious dimension of marital and family intimacy in students’ evaluation
  • Academic youth and their system of values
  • Post-sacral. Religious escapism. The metaphysics of hope
  • Participation in worship as a channel of communication with the sacred in the liquid modernity project
  • Faith, beliefs and their transfigurations
  • Faith, fear and experience of God in everyday life of university students
  • Students’ religiosity in their own assessment
  • Community and institutional dimension of religious life
  • Moral profiles and religious affiliations of academic youth
  • Religion.pl – religiousness of academic youth within the paradigm of Web 2.0
  • Group identity. Public trust. Passion
  • Nation and values
  • Prosocial orientations and trust to people
  • University students’ self-declarations of interests and learning progress – Dynamics of phenomenon
  • List of figures
  • List of tables

List of contributors

Łukasz Budzyński, PhD, The Jacob of Paradies University – Gorzów Wielkopolski, the Department of Administration and National Security. Area of research interests: social capital, migration, identity and social security.

Marcin Choczyński, PhD, lecturer in the Department of Sociology of Work and Organization in the Institute of Sociology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (UKSW), secretary of ‘Academic Journal of Sociology’ and member of Research Laboratory of Polish Measurement of Attitudes and Values (Polish: PPPiW). Main research areas: sociology of religion, problems of structure, social change and revolution and sociology of music.

Elżbieta Firlit, sociologist with a post-doctoral degree, employed as a professor at the Sociology Unit of the Institute of Philosophy, Sociology and Sociology of Economics (Polish: IFSiSE) at SGH Warsaw School of Economics. Between 1987 and 2014, she cooperated as an academic with the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC (Polish: ISKK SAC). Author and co-author of many research projects in sociology of religion, social attitudes and values and transformation of cultural identities in the contemporary world.

Andrzej Górny, PhD, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Silesia. His main research interests include sociology of religion, sociology of family, sociology of Internet and sociology of youth. His current research focuses on structures and functions of contemporary family structures and religiousness in modern Web society.

Andrzej Kasperek, assistant professor, the Faculty of Ethnology and Education,the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland). His research interests include the sociology of spirituality, sociology of religion and reflection on contemporary culture.

Wojciech Klimski, PhD, assistant professor, the Department of Sociology of Religion at the Institute of Sociology, UKSW. Main research areas: sociology of religion, religious institutions in modern societies and issues in the field of tanatosociology and new spirituality.

Tomasz Michał Korczyński, PhD, works in the Department of Methodology of Research and Sociological Analysis, the Institute of Sociology at the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of UKSW. Main research areas: national stereotypes, youth sociology and sociology of knowledge.

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Andrzej Ochocki, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist of the Department of Sociological Research and Analysis Methodology, the Institute of Sociology, UKSW, lecturer of demography. Main research areas: contemporary demographic theories, foreign and internal migrations, global population processes, social policy towards the family.

Paweł Prüfer, doctor habilitated, associate professor, The Jacob of Paradies University – Gorzów Wielkopolski, the Department of Economics. Area of research interests: social development, sociological theories, social and economics ethics, sociology of religion and sociology of education.

Wojciech Sadłon, PhD, Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC. Main research areas: religiosity, social capital, third sector and Catholicism.

Maria Sroczyńska, post-doctoral degree holder, associate professor, the Faculty of History and Social Sciences, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, the Head of the Department of Sociology of the Family, Education and Upbringing in the Institute of Sociology. Her scientific interests focus on the field of sociology of religion, education and upbringing, family and intimacy.

Wojciech Krzysztof Świątkiewicz, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist, University of Silesia in Katowice, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. Main research areas: sociology of culture, sociology of religion and sociology of family.

Agata Rozalska, MA, PhD student and academic in the Institute of Sociology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (UKSW). Main research areas: urban social movements, lifestyles and sociology of art. Member of Board of Warsaw Department and Main Board of Polish Sociological Association.

Katarzyna Uklańska, PhD, sociologist, lecturer in the Institute of Sociology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. Main research areas: sociology of education and young people, sociology of lifestyles and axiology in consumer society.

Sławomir H. Zaręba, full professor, doctor habilitated, sociologist, Head of the Department of Sociology of Religion, Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University. Main research areas: sociology of religion, culture, morality, youth and professional ethos.

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Marcin Zarzecki, PhD, sociologist of religion, methodologist of social sciences, statistics, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology of Religion, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. Main research areas: research on social and religious movements, sociology of politics and economic sociology.

Sławomir H. Zaręba and Marcin Zarzecki

Homo consumens, homo eligens, homo creator – Processes of fragmentation of religious life among university students1

Abstract: The conducted survey is a diachronic measurement with statistical time series of years 1988-1998-2005-2017. In the measurement in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 the research technique f2f audit PAPI was used. To include in the study 1067 university students, 97 student groups were drawn, including 55 groups in the second year and 42 groups in the fourth year of studies. The effective sample was n=2133 (rr=0,8) respondents, including n=1339 (rr=0,83) school students and n=794 (rr=0,74) university students. The survey uses the research tool, in which dimensions were primarily established by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark and a community component by Ohio Fukuyama. The term ‘global profession of faith’ was introduced by French sociologists Louis Dingemans and Jean Rémy.

Keywords: homo consumens, homo eligens, homo creator, dimensions of religiousness, methodology, sample, research, PAPI.

Analytical categories

Among young people, symptoms of social change emerge in multiple manners (see Mannheim 1992–1993, pp. 57–68). This observation by Karl Mannheim determined the concept of survey of social and religious attitudes conducted by the integrated research team of employees of the Department of Sociology of Religion in the Institute of Sociology at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw and Institute for Catholic Church Statistics SAC at the turn of April and May 2017. The title of the book is an intentional reference to the concept of social constructionism. That idea manifests itself in the subjective function of participants of an interaction who reconstruct social contexts in the course of the interaction on the basis of symbolic meanings. A reference store of knowledge that is used to interpret social reality is handed down through social activities (among others, through socialization in a family, religion, mass media and education system). As ←11 | 12→a result, one can participate in a collective world of ideas, notions, norms, values, symbols and signs, which serve to construct social reality, also the reality in which religion is a point of reference to inner experiences and a part of community life. Dominance of religious or non-religious rules governing structuralization of reality is determined by the effectiveness of socialization agendas. Construction and deconstruction of the world of meanings refer to the subjectivity of a human being and social construction of reality based on communication activities and interpersonal relations, reflectiveness and the construction of the world of social meanings. In that paper, it was assumed that sociologists are participants of such a process of the construction of the world, rooted in the same world of meanings and symbols, and in mechanisms of construction of social reality use gnoseological models, which enable them to ‘understand’ intentions hidden behind declared attitudes, opinions and judgments. As regards the conceptualization of cognitive aspects, it was assumed that axionormative profiles, outlooks and attitudes and opinions and activities of young people studying (either in a secondary school or at university) are determined by participation in the world of values, norms, senses and meanings, within which social and religious attitudes function. The dynamics of variability of the community of young people seems to correspond with an ideal typological model of mind of a postmodern man, that is, according to the metaphoric typology of the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, with ‘a life traveler’, ‘a tramp’ and ‘a player’ (compare Bauman 2000). According to Bauman, postmodernism is mainly about distant look at modernism with a simultaneous attempt at a mature recapitulation of achievements of a modern era (Bauman 1985, p. 39). However, postmodernism assumes within interpretation of collective identities also a kind of anthropology – its hallmarks can be found in the survey of contemporary young people. The idea of deconstruction of traditional systems of values and replacing them with diversity, ahistorism, presentivism and, in terms of religious experiences, reinterpretation of religious tradition in the context of independent needs without taking into account their historical and cultural development process leads to reviewing of the social world. In that review, moral norms and components of outlook become isolated and mosaic elements of a defragmented social society.

The model of a consumer society and commercial culture provides references of lifestyles, including religious attitudes which are a set of selectively chosen elements of the religious system, such as in the Catholicism of Poland. The category of homo consumens refers to the social segment in which consumerism is a dominant lifestyle widely interpreted as a criterion of civilizational development. Economies of affluent societies produce material goods and offer services which satisfy artificially created needs, also called status needs by sociologists (the idea of limitless consumption is ←12 | 13→defined as status symbolism). Consumer lifestyle consists in obtaining more or less useful material objects and modern technology products, as well as in searching for new experiences, also spiritual ones. Patterns of attractive social roles, strictly connected with those contemporary artefacts, are created by mass media, more generally speaking, by popular culture. Everyone can create his or her image and his or her identity. And thus, intellectual trends and quasi-religious movements which are associated with modernity, nonconformism, breaking with rigid frames of cognition and imposed outlook axioms and religious dogmas become more and more important (see Krasnodębski 1996). Religious doctrines become a commercial product on the market of human needs. It is a product subject to rules of free competition and that is why it must be served in as an attractive way as possible.

In a description of a community of young people, the analytical category homo consumens is connected with the category homo eligens. The representatives of young people function in the environment with a multitude and variety of possibilities, which encourages to constantly experience and search. Pluralism concerns not only the material aspect of consumerism, but also the world of ideas and religious beliefs. The pluralism of ‘spirituality’ and ideas complies with the postmodern demand for diversity and decentralization of traditional religious institutions. In postmodern societies emerge tendencies to subjective and selective treatment of truths of faith and sanctioned religious moral norms. Sociologist Peter L. Berger refers to the etymological meaning of the term ‘heresy’ and claims that heretic mentality becomes a dominant model of religious aspect of personality (see Berger 1990, p. 13n). The consequence of the process of privatization of religion among young people is the reduction of influence of institutionalized religion and marginalization of traditional religious organizations. As a result, the constant act of searching becomes more important than a final choice. Searching is a natural part of the cycle of psychophysical development of young people, but in postmodernism it has become a value itself. As interpreted by Baumann, an individual is a self-creating human in a constant process of interpretation of the environment and creation of his or her own identity (or many different identities) – homo creator. The author of the work ‘Postmodernism as a Source of Suffering’ uses a metaphoric pattern of personality – a ‘life tourist’ whose survival strategy and aim of existence is ‘not to be defined, to make every adopted identity only an outfit, not a skin, an outfit that does not fit too tight, to be able to get rid of it as easily as one takes off a sweaty shirt’ (Bauman 2000, p. 143). If there are no constant points of reference, an individual strikes a pose of a self-creator and takes responsibility for his or her independent decisions himself or herself. Therefore, there emerges a notion of ‘independence’ understood in an individual way: it is the independence of a tourist who thinks that ‘other people should keep away ←13 | 14→from his or her travelling and nobody should tell him or her when it is right or wrong to get one’s stuff together and hit the road’ (Baumann 2000, p. 144).

Dimensions of religiousness

The acceptance of the above conceptual assumptions as regards the survey of young people’s religiousness enhances the methodological conviction that there is no consensus on the operationalization of the term ‘religiousness’. The controversy mentioned results from not only the adoption of different methodological approaches, but also from antrophilosophical disputes in the scientific environment. However, to conduct a research process, it was necessary to conceptualize, explain and operationalize religiousness and to use a procedure that would allow to obtain valid and reliable indicators of the phenomenon. Operationally, religiousness is treated as an overall term for all attitudes to religious phenomena. To prepare a research tool, the logic of measurement of attitudes based on the definition of attitudes by Stefan Nowak was applied: ‘an attitude of a certain man to a certain object is the whole of relatively durable predispositions towards judgment of this object and emotional reaction to it or accompanied emotional and judgmental predispositions of relatively durable convictions about nature and qualities of this object, or relatively durable predispositions towards behaviour connected with this object’ (Nowak 1975, p. 23). Relative homeostasis between components leads to an entire, complementary and balanced attitude, while dominance of one of the components enables one to name three different attitudes: an intellectual attitude with dominance of the cognitive aspect; emotional and judgmental attitude, in which the affective component is dominant and action-oriented attitude, with dominance of the behavioral element. Such differentiation makes it easier to formulate simple models of religiousness, for example, intellectual attitude creates intellectual and inquisitive religiousness, emotional and judgmental attitude emotional and engaged religiousness and action-oriented attitude ritual religiousness. From that point of view, the entire attitude leads to mature and conscious religiousness.

The survey uses a research tool in which dimensions were primarily established by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark and a community component by Ohio Fukuyam. A parameter (or dimension) means a fundamental aspect of religiousness, whereas an indicator (or index) is a detailed feature that is used to measure the parameter (see Piwowarski 1996, p. 49). Dimensions were adapted to polish conditions by Rev. prof. Władysław Piwowarski, Rev. prof Witold Zdaniewicz and Rev. prof Janusz Mariański, who created jointly the ‘Questionnaire of Research of Religiousness’. The questionnaire uses a set of parameters created ←14 | 15→by Charles Glock and Rodney Stark. Yet in 1958, Charles Glock established four dimensions – ideological, experiential, ritualistic and consequential, and in 1962 he added the intellectual parameter. Thanks to the cooperation between Glock and Stark, the conception was developed and clarified (see Stark, Glock, pp. 182–187). According to the authors, all five dimensions of religious engagement can be found in all religions, but in research practice, one should specify individually and separately for every religion or denomination what indicators should be included in the parameters. In the ‘Questionnaire of Research of Religiousness’, two dimensions were added to five basic ones, that is global attitude to religion and community parameter. The term ‘global profession of faith’ was introduced by French sociologists Louis Dingemans and Jean Rémy to describe motivation and dynamics of changes of one’s individual religiousness and identification of individuals with religious groups of reference. Parameters and indicators enable one to study environmental forms of religiousness, as well as religion defined in an ecclesiastical way, that is, religion promoted formally and informally by the Roman Catholic Church and handed down through religious socialization by basic socialization agendas.

In this survey of social and religious attitudes of studying young people, to the research tool, religious dimensions adopted by forms of activity on the Internet were added. Based on the typology of religion by Chales Helland, the variables describing the categories online religion and religion online were included in the multiple-choice answers.

Methodology

The methodology of the study assumed that research aims will be achieved through statistical calculations. The collected quantitative data were processed using IBM SPSS statistical software version 24 under UKSW licence. The recommendation of the method of the quantitative research was based on the assumption that the scope and kind of the obtained information should make it possible to generate multifactor statistical descriptions enabling one to explore, describe and explain. The conducted survey is a diachronic measurement with statistical time series of years 1988–1998–2005–2017. The first version of all-Poland sample of young students who study was prepared in 1988. It was updated in 1998. In 2017, due to the fact that vocational colleges (Polish: szkoły policealne) were closed down the sample was corrected by updating secondary/vocational schools (Polish: szkoły średnie i zawodowe) and universities maintaining an overall number of statistical nests (170). As regards universities, half of the respondents were students of the second year and the other half students of the ←15 | 16→fourth year. For a methodological reason, in the survey conducted in 2017 the schema was modified by the introduction of a selection of regional criterion (voivodeship). As in case of previous measurements, only full-time students of state universities took part in the survey. Such a decision was taken to maintain characteristics of samples from the previous research. In the measurements in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017, the research technique f2f audit PAPI was used. Pollsters were students of sociology, economics and Man in Cyberspace at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

On the basis of all-Poland structure of students of secondary/vocational schools and university students, it was agreed that in the overall sample of 2673 respondents there should be 1606 students of secondary/vocational schools and 1067 university students. To include in the survey 1606 students of secondary/vocational schools, 73 schools (Polish: oddziały) were drawn. To include in the study 1067 university students, 97 student groups were drawn, including 55 groups in the second year and 42 groups in the fourth year of studies. The effective sample was n=2133 (rr=0,8) respondents, including n=1339 (rr=0,83) school students and n=794 (rr=0,74) university students. In order to adjust the structure of the sample to the structure of the population, RAKE weights were used, and to meet ESOMAR and PKJPA standards, respondents’ answers were anonymous. The analyses included in the work consist of statistical distribution and contingency tables, along with correlation tests prepared exclusively for the subset of university students, excluding secondary school students. A separate monograph was devoted to the last mentioned group.

As far as university students were concerned, the faculties of studies were drawn (along with departments and university) and numbered from 1 to 97. If it was an odd number, the students of the second year were under study and if it was an even number, students of the fourth year. The frame for drawing was an alphabetical list of names of students in a group in which, depending on the number of students, a starting point was 2 (with a selection of people with even numbers), 3 (with a selection of people with a number which can be divided by 3) or 4 (with a selection of people with a number which can be divided by 4).

Sample

The research sample includes 60 % women and 40 % men. Among female and male students there are 34,2 % inhabitants of the country, 16,3 % inhabitants of a city with 50 000 inhabitants, 10,3 %- inhabitants of cities between 50 000 and 100 000 inhabitants, 13 % inhabitants of cities between 100 000 and 250 000 inhabitants, 10,8 % inhabitants of cities between 250 000 and 500 000 inhabitants ←16 | 17→and 15,4 % inhabitants of cities with over 500 000 inhabitants. Over 90 % respondents declared not being a member of a social or political organization, while 84,5 % respondents declared not being a member of a religious community or a church association. Nearly 1/4 of the respondents assessed material situation of their family as very good, 1/2 as good, over 1/4 as average, 3,5 % as bad and 0,8 % as very bad (see diagram 1).

65,7 % respondents represent mathematics and life sciences studies, including medical studies, and 34,3 % respondents are students of humanities, social or economic studies. The structure according to faculty of studies is shown in diagram 2.

Below there are tables of variables of differentiation of a sample according to religion identification (see Tab. 1), global attitude to religion (see Tab. 2) and religious practices (see Tab. 3) in time series compared with measurements from 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017.

Tab. 1: Identification with religion in 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2017 (%). Source: Department of Sociology of Religion of UKSW and Institute of Statistics of the Catholic Church SAC

Year

Answer

Total

Roman Catholic

Orthodox

Protestant

Moses

Other

Muslim, Buddhist

None

No answer

1988 (N=350)

100,0

88,3

0,3

0,9

0,6

3,9

5,1

0,9

1998 (N=523)

Details

Pages
232
ISBN (PDF)
9783631804643
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631804650
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631804667
ISBN (Book)
9783631795170
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (December)
Tags
Religion in Poland Social research E-religion Social constructionism Morality and values
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 232 pp., 11 fig. b/w, 90 tables

Biographical notes

Sławomir H. Zaręba (Volume editor) Marcin Zarzecki (Volume editor)

Sławomir Henryk Zaręba is a sociologist, Full Professor, Head of the Department of Sociology of Religion and Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. His main research areas include sociology of religion, culture, morality, youth and professional ethos. Marcin Zarzecki, Ph.D., is a sociologist of religion, methodologist of social sciences and statistics. He is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Historical and Social Sciences of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. His main research areas include social and religious movements, sociology of politics and economic sociology.

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Title: Between Construction and Deconstruction of the Universes of Meaning