Catalyst of engagement or shadow of grievance? The role of religion in immigrants’ political participation in Sweden
Immigrants are less politically engaged in Western societies, and it is important to improve that situation. Religious engagement, as one form of civic engagement, is often suggested as having the potential to promote political participation for immigrants by providing civic skills and native networks. However, being both religious and an immigrant is also often associated with economic deprivation, which could discourage political participation. In this study, I revisited the question in the Swedish context, where the political participation levels are generally high, the immigrant community is ethnically and religiously diverse, but the political climate on the migration issue is increasingly polarized. Using the Swedish Level of Living Survey for the Foreign Born and Their Children (LNU-UFB), I show that, contrary to findings in the previous literature, religious engagement is negatively associated with political participation for immigrants, particularly for those who have experienced discrimination. Religious engagement leads to more engagement in other civil societies, but it does not facilitate political participation for immigrants by providing civic skills or native networks. Also, economic disadvantage does not explain why religious immigrants refrain from political participation. Thus, more policy efforts should be made in Sweden to improve the political integration of immigrant religious organizations.
Original titleCatalyst of engagement or shadow of grievance? The role of religion in immigrants’ political participation in Sweden
Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)
- 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology