Religious and Ethnic Variation Among Second-Generation Muslim Americans
Committee ChairChaves, Mark A.
Grant III, Don S.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe research question for this study is: how do religious and ethnic identities intersect for second-generation Americans? Is religious identification consistently coupled with strong ethnic identity among second-generation Americans, as posited by the current literature on is this issue, or are there other extant patterns that need to be further examined? I considered this question by comparing religious and non-religious second-generation Americans from Muslim-origin families from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. I interviewed 44 individuals across a range of religious and ethnic identification, and found six main patterns in how ethno-religious identities do and do not map on to one another. I titled these six patterns thusly: "Religion > Ethnicity; Higher Religion, Higher Ethnicity," "Religion > Ethnicity; Higher Religion, Lower Ethnicity," "Religion = Ethnicity," "Religion < Ethnicity," "Somewhat Ethnic, Somewhat Religious," and "Critics of Religion and Ethnicity."The case of second-generation Muslim Americans is particularly interesting, given that what may actually be occurring is the growing importance of a "pan-religious" identity, rather than the continued dominance of specific ethnic identities at the group level. Indeed, the primary function of the congregation vis-Ã -vis ethnicity may not be to maintain the ascendancy of a particular ethnic identity, as the sociology of religion literature claims; rather, for second-generation Muslims, religiosity may encourage a "pan-ethnicity" based on shared religious identity. This is borne out in the presence of two forms of the "Religion > Ethnicity" category, and the differentiation in how segmented assimilation occurs between the highly religious and the less religious.