The aim of the paper is to analyze the relation between religion and trust. The literature on this topic found very mixed evidence. Some of it uncovers a positive relation between religion and trust and ascribes it to religious teachings and/or to the repeated interactions fostered by attendance of worship places; other works find a negative relation and explain it with reference to the concept of bonding social capital. Indeed, no conclusive evidence could be found. So far, the analysis of the relationship between religion and trust has been carried out mostly with reference to the United States. In the paper we focus instead on the case of Italy and on the peculiarities of Italian Catholicism. Our analysis is based on a very rich dataset produced by the Italian National Institute of Statistics, which allows in-depth examination of the topic. In particular, the indicators of trust allow to distinguish between thin and thick trust. On the whole, our analysis appears to convey a picture of religion’s (and Church’s) role in Italian society very different from the standard account: religious involvement does not create a closed space, which destroys social solidarity and participation, but, quite on the contrary, it fosters them by creating favorable conditions for their development. Even more remarkable is the fact the, contrary to some theories, the influence of religious involvement is strong in the case of generalized trust, while it is almost irrelevant and scarcely significant in the case of particularistic trust, usually associated with familism.

Individual religiosity and interpersonal trust in a Catholic country. The case of Italy / M. Maraffi, R. Vignati. - Milano : Università degli studi di Milano, 2017.

Individual religiosity and interpersonal trust in a Catholic country. The case of Italy

M. Maraffi
Primo
;
2017

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to analyze the relation between religion and trust. The literature on this topic found very mixed evidence. Some of it uncovers a positive relation between religion and trust and ascribes it to religious teachings and/or to the repeated interactions fostered by attendance of worship places; other works find a negative relation and explain it with reference to the concept of bonding social capital. Indeed, no conclusive evidence could be found. So far, the analysis of the relationship between religion and trust has been carried out mostly with reference to the United States. In the paper we focus instead on the case of Italy and on the peculiarities of Italian Catholicism. Our analysis is based on a very rich dataset produced by the Italian National Institute of Statistics, which allows in-depth examination of the topic. In particular, the indicators of trust allow to distinguish between thin and thick trust. On the whole, our analysis appears to convey a picture of religion’s (and Church’s) role in Italian society very different from the standard account: religious involvement does not create a closed space, which destroys social solidarity and participation, but, quite on the contrary, it fosters them by creating favorable conditions for their development. Even more remarkable is the fact the, contrary to some theories, the influence of religious involvement is strong in the case of generalized trust, while it is almost irrelevant and scarcely significant in the case of particularistic trust, usually associated with familism.
religion; trust; Italy
Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale
Working Paper
Individual religiosity and interpersonal trust in a Catholic country. The case of Italy / M. Maraffi, R. Vignati. - Milano : Università degli studi di Milano, 2017.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/579687
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