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Research at St Andrews

A social identity approach to religion: religiosity at the nexus of personal and collective self

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Religion is often a defining feature of the personal and social selves, with both individual and collective outcomes. On one hand, religion might manifest as a form of individual expression (e.g., religious “orientations”) with collective outcomes (e.g., inciting discrimination or collective action). On the other hand, religion can also be seen as a form of collective expression (e.g., shared beliefs and practices) with individual outcomes (e.g., promoting health and well-being; mitigating existential anxiety). In this chapter, drawing on a social identity and self-categorization theory framework, we argue for a more unified view of religion at the nexus of the individual and collective selves where religious personal and social identities align. And while this reciprocal relationship between personal and social aspects of identity is likely to be true in a number of contexts, we argue that it is particularly potent in the case of religious identities, by their potentially all-encompassing nature.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe science of religion, spirituality, and existentialism
EditorsKenneth E. Vail III, Clay Routlledge
PublisherAcademic Press
ISBN (Print)9780128172049
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • religion, identity, self, collective-action, well-being, fundamentalism, ideology

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