Religion and local civil society: participation and change in a post-industrial village

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The relationship between religion and civil society at the macro level has attracted the attention of sociologists of religion but empirical detail of how religion is connected to the social relations and practices that constitute local civil society is relatively lacking. This article explores the contemporary social and communal significance of the religious dimension in local civil society using the authors’ ethnographic fieldwork and biographical interviews in one post-industrial village in North East Wales. Data on social change and participation in the locality includes evidence of decline in religious affiliation and practice alongside the persistence of religion in the built environment, family ties, memory and sense of belonging. The evidence can be used to inform a number of recent debates in both the sociology of religion and studies of civil society, including (post)secularity, religiously-motivated social action, networks and associations, beliefs and belonging.


  • Civil society, Wales, Religion, participation, locality
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-309
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number2
Early online date1 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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