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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values

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Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis

This volume brings together two core concepts that are central to understanding the social and public significance of religions and theologies within the contemporary world and are therefore of key importance to the discipline of religious education: diversity and intersectionality. Religious diversity requires an understanding of religions and theologies and their roles within a plural society. However, the effect of the intersectionality of multiple social identities on a person’s flourishing illuminates the ways in which the broader complexity of diversity must be viewed from different perspectives.

These core constructs were brought together in a recent conference convened by the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, the leading international association for religious educators across the world. This volume presents twelve key contributions made to the seminar, spanning both conceptual and empirical approaches, and represents a unique collection of international perspectives on the interlocking themes of intersectionality and diversity.

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4 Growing Up Female and Catholic in the Republic of Ireland and in Scotland: The Intersectionality of Religious Identity, Religious Saliency, and Nationality

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ABSTRACT

This chapter employs the notion of intersectionality in order to explore the potential distinctiveness of the values and beliefs of female students (thirteen to fifteen years of age) growing up in the Republic of Ireland. Here the interplay is constructed among three independent constructs: nationality (contrasting the Republic of Ireland and Scotland), self-assigned religious affiliation (contrasting Catholic and none), and religious saliency (contrasting levels of religious practice). As in earlier studies, Catholics who never attend church have been characterized as lapsed Catholics, those who attend weekly as practising Catholics, and those who attend less than weekly as sliding Catholics. The thesis is tested among 985 female students in Scotland (510 having no religious affiliation, ninety-five lapsed Catholics, 219 sliding Catholics, and 161 practising Catholics) and 1,349 female students in the Republic of Ireland (155 having no religious affiliation, 149 lapsed Catholics, 748 sliding Catholics, and 297 practising Catholics). From both nations students identifying with other religious groups were not included in the analyses. The data confirmed the relevance of all three constructs in explaining individual differences in the values and beliefs of female students growing up in the Republic of Ireland.

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