JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for CENSUS-UK Archives


CENSUS-UK Archives

CENSUS-UK Archives


CENSUS-UK@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CENSUS-UK Home

CENSUS-UK Home

CENSUS-UK  1999

CENSUS-UK 1999

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Re: Output consultation - religion

From:

David Voas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Voas <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 25 May 1999 16:46:59 +0100 (British Summer Time)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (74 lines)

Last week David Gatley asked 

> Maybe someone can tell me: -
> 
> * What is the point of a religious question that groups all 
> Christians together (true this will help to identify the 
> needs of ethnic minorities) but given the interest of many 
> academics in wider questions about religion and 
> 'Britishness' why not at least ask if people are Roman 
> Catholics, Anglicans, C of S, or other?

The inclusion of the question on religion seems to have caught the 
academic community by surprise.  I'd also be interested in learning a 
little more about the background to the proposal and the various 
wordings that were considered. 

The formulation in the White Paper makes it clear that this is 
intended essentially as a supplementary question on ethnicity, rather 
than as anything that will offer much assistance to the sociology of 
religion.  The question itself ('What is your religion?') implies 
that you have one, even if the first answer is 'None'.  The leading 
nature of the question is reinforced by answer categories that will 
be seen as cultural rather than religious; most white Britons are 
likely to identify themselves as 'Christian' by way of distinguishing 
themselves from Hindus, etc., not through religious sentiment.  The 
undivided, catch-all use of 'Christian' is a strong clue that we are 
supposed to be self-ascribing ethnicity, not religion.  This is 
emphasised by framing the answers as adjectives rather than nouns: if 
we were really asking about religion it might seem more appropriate 
to refer to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc., and the use of 
Christian, Jewish, Muslim makes it more evident that we're employing 
ethnic labels. 

These remarks are intended as comments on the objectives, not 
necessarily as criticisms.  I somewhat regret that the opportunity 
was not taken to gather data on the religious character of the 
majority community (even if it did no more than invite identification 
as Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic or other), but I appreciate the 
difficulty of conflicting aims.  For purposes of ethnic 
identification one hopes to minimise the choice of 'None'; for 
studying religion per se it would be better to avoid using religious 
tags for ethnic status.  

I would probably have preferred the question that appeared in Census 
News ('Do you consider you belong to a religious group?'), though I 
accept that it is also ambiguous (is 'group' something ethnic or 
organisational?), and it seems inelegant for the answers to be 
'Christian' etc. rather than 'Yes'.  In the final analysis I suspect 
that the census is simply the wrong instrument for any but the 
most superficial study of religious affiliation.  Ticking a box 
labelled 'Anglican' could mean anything from "I was baptised, but 
won't be found in church again until I'm dead" to "I teach Sunday 
school." 

Any insight into the thinking behind this question would be very 
welcome.  My guess is that it will be rather dull (viz., how can we 
best identify Muslims?). 

David Voas

----------------------
Department of Geography
University of Liverpool
Liverpool  L69  3BX
Great Britain

tel:  +44 151 794 2840
fax:  +44 151 794 2866

[log in to unmask]



%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JISCMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
July 2012
June 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2000
1999
1998


WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager