The Role of Religion in Solidifying the Individual and Group Identity of Women [University of West Georgia]
Keywords:Religion and Identity
The impact of religion on social behavior has been a well-researched topic throughout the years. Consequently, scholars believe that religion influences positive social behavior in religious individuals and creates the basis for individual identity and sense of belonging. In this research, I examine how female identity becomes solidified during college and the roles religion plays in constructing identity and social behavior. Using anthropologist Victor Turner’s concept of communitas (1967) I seek to understand female social behavior and what prompts the development of group unity as well as how religion serves as a bonding agent among college students during their first years living independently. Using ethnographic field methods including informal interviews, life histories, and participant observation, I will conduct in-depth studies of fifteen female University of West Georgia collegiate sophomores. Females are the focus group for my study because I am inspired to discover how a woman’s identity is formed within male-dominant societies and how religion influences a woman’s social behavior. Therefore, I will consider the interplay between the effects of religion on social behavior and identity in a college setting and how being a college student affects the individual’s religious values. I will concentrate on unmarried, 18-21 year-old female collegiate sophomores who reside on the UWG campus and identify with a particular religion. I hypothesize that through the experience of communitas, the religious values and practices of an 18-21 year-old collegiate female sophomore at The University of West Georgia cause her to be more socially involved/engaged with others and influence her career choices.
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