Something Is Changing: Italian Young People Between Religious Indifference and New Form of Believing

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Franco GARELLI , University of Torino, Italy
Roberta RICUCCI , University of Torino, Italy
Several studies on youth and religion stress how only a very small proportion of the youth population has anything to do with organized religion. There has been, on the one hand, a growth of interest in alternative forms of spirituality and, on the other, an increasing estrangement from the various religious aspects (believing, practice, involvement in religious associations). In this framework, the paper will focus on the outcomes of the socialization process, investigating how young people debate, follow, refuse or interact with religion in the Italian scenario.  Are we looking at an Italian version of religious modernity which, on one hand, reflects the typical expectations of living in a pluralistic society and, on the other, forms them within the long tradition of culture and religious socialization which are typical of a country where both Catholicism and church are strong? Or are we looking at, among young people, the emerging of a generation characterized by religious incredulity? In this paper we’re going to present findings of a qualitative study carried out with 150 young people aged 18-24, in order to better understand, in the framework of socialization outcomes, what are the key determinants of believing and belonging among young people and what are, in some cases, the main reasons of their taking distance from the religion. The collected interviews allow us to define a typology, defining mainly four kinds of youths according to their religious definition and their religious practice, to their opinion on the Catholic church and to their religious socialization.