Christian Churches, Social Capital and Civic Involvement in Chile

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:40
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Vicente ESPINOZA, USACH, Chile
In the last decade scholars have stressed the positive effect of religious commitment on the civic involvement of their beievers. In this presentation I will analyze original survey data from Chile including several Christian denominations as well as the Catholic, on the formation of social capital, religious practices, religious beliefs, and political leanings. Although a body of literature exists on religion and political involvement at a general level, this presentation analyses the differences between denominations. The relevance of this approach stems from the social transformation of Chilean society and the emergence of a myriad of new Christian movements, conveying innovative practices about participation in public life. The presentation treats two aspects: on the one side, it considers the characteristics of civic involvement of members from different Christian denominations. On the other side it considers whether social capital characteristics respond to "bonding" or "bridging" dynamics. I hypothesize that younger people as well as recently upwardly mobile believe will belong to denominations akin to their civic involvement and will also present higher levels of bridging social capital.