Exploring Youth Religiosity and Multiple-Secularities in Korea: Quests for Happiness in the Immanent Frames

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Seil OH, Sogang University, Dept of Sociology, South Korea
In the post-secular life-world, “religious nones” and secular types of spirituality are becoming more apparent and significant in contrast to religiosity.  Scholars have, so far, talked of a variety of thematic categories such as religiosity, spirituality, and secularity in accordance with theism, spiritualism or New Age, atheism, etc.  However, from the perspective of the Immanent frame (Charles Taylor, 2007), the quests for happiness, namely, “the fullness of life” need to be empirically and systematically explored in order to better understand a variety of youth religiosity and multiple-secularities.

Our research team utilized both quantitative and qualitative method for the youth religiosity and multiple-secularities in Korea: we surveyed 900 college students and interviewed 40 students in the Western Area of Seoul. In addition, our team performed participatory observations for four atheist associations of college students.   

Findings report that the youth generation has greater emphasis on autonomy and seeking spirituality rather than conformity and dwelling religiosity in Korea.  The quality of life for the youth generation also differs depending on theistic, spiritual, humanistic or scientific atheism.  The quest for happiness should be categorized in accordance with different layers of agents’ quests: self-transcendence, spiritual values, and secular goal-attainment. Discourses on autonomy, authenticity, and authority gain different socio-cultural significances depending on emotion, consumption, or reflexivity.  Types of atheist movements vary in accordance with its value-orientations: autonomous or interdependent, scientific or humanistic.

This research might open a new horizon for understanding a variety of the immanent frames like happiness beyond dualistic tension between the religious and the secular: it will shed light on a common ground of the quest for the fullness of life for the better world.