Young people's identity formation in mixed-faith families: Continuity or discontinuity of religious traditions?

  • Arweck E
  • Nesbitt E
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The present paper draws on a recent ethnographic study which investigated the religious identity formation of young people growing up in mixed-faith families in the UK. Taking into account the parents' backgrounds in terms of faith tradition, ethnicity, and culture, we explore to what extent and in what way religious values are transmitted from generation to generation. The paper examines the meaning of transmission and places it in the context of earlier research, before looking at processes which facilitate religious transmission and the question of what is transmitted. It then considers the link between culture, religion, ethnicity, and language and how individuals approach these elements. This is followed by a discussion of the role which memory plays in culture and religion, with particular reference to Daniele Hervieu-Leger's concept of religion as a chain of memory and the way it applies to data emerging from our study. Although we focus on two families who participated in our study, we refer to data relating to other families in our project and highlight the importance of grandparents and the extended family in the continuity or rupture in the chains of transmission.

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  • Elisabeth Arweck

  • Eleanor Nesbitt

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