Relationship between Religious Identity and Social Capital (Research Subject: Yasouj)



Social capital is related to the relationships between human actors and because it is formed through social relationships, it has an intangible and therefore unrecognizable character. Any increase in social capital will lead to better interaction among people. But with the decline and fall of social capital, we may witness discrimination, inequality, migration, lack of common sense, loss of social participation and charitable work, increase in deviances and addiction, family breakdown and more intergenerational gap. On the other hand, religion, as a social phenomenon, while providing answer for ultimate questions of humanity, has an organizing function at the social level and can help to integrate society. Religion can encourage sense of trust, coherence, shared identity, social solidarity and the spirit of cooperation among the individuals. Therefore, it constitutes a large part of human culture that can create shared beliefs and values among its followers and be making a call for them to perform common religious rituals and practices, can bring people together, contributing to social stability and durability. But religion and religious doctrines as very important factors in creating social capital, receive little attention. Therefore in the current Iranian society, which is a developing country and because religious identity is a part of the original identity of the inhabitants of this country, the necessity of considering relationship between religion and social capital becomes important and this paper tries to investigate this relationship.

Methods and Materials
This research is a survey study. The statistical population includes all citizens of Yasouj who are 18 years old and older. Sample size includes 381 individuals, who were selected by means of random multi-stage sampling method. The instrument is a 58-item questionnaire, designed on the basis of a combination of researcher-made questions and standards measurement scales. Clark and Stark's religious identity scale is a 19-item questionnaire that assesses the construct of religious identity and is scored on a five-point Likert scale. For assessing the significance of religion, four aspects, including ritual (5 questions), faith (5 items), emotional (5 items) and outcome (4 questions) are used. Confirmatory factor analysis and varimax rotation were used to assess the validity of the questionnaire. KMO test is equal to .902 for the construct of religious identity, which indicates the adequacy of the sampling. Bartlett’s significance test indicates that there exists correlation between the variables. Reliability of religious identity construct was measured using Cronbach's Alpha coefficient, equal to .91, which means the internal consistency of the scale is acceptable. The construct of social capital was developed in the form of a 32-item scale, including four dimensions of social trust, social networks, social participation and social awareness. KMO test is equal to .725 for this construct, which indicates the adequacy of the sampling. Bartlett’s significance test indicates that there exists correlation between variables. Reliability score is equal to .71 which indicates that the internal consistency of the scale is provided. Data were analyzed using SPSS software.

Discussion of Results & Conclusions
The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between religious identity and Social capital in Yasouj. Results showed that only 7 percent of the respondents have a low level of social capital and 8/55 percent have a moderate level of social capital and 39.5 percent have a strong level of social capital. Also, based on the average score of religious identity, only 5 percent of respondents have a weak religious identity and 11.3 percent have a moderate religious identity, and more than two-third (that is, 2/88 percent) have a strong religious identity. According to the results of this study, a significant positive relationship exist between religious identity and social capital. This is in line with most of the studies conducted in this subject. This is because most of religious doctrines are based on principles such as respect for the rights of others, cooperation with community members, well interactions with coreligionists, having trust in others and other good and positive religious moral values, which if members of the society act according to them, the consequence would be increase in the level of social capital in society.


Main Subjects