The Interplay of Gender and Religion in Creating Religious Friendship Segregation among Muslim Youth

26.04.2022 - 15:30 to 17:00
Location : 
Online via Zoom
Type of Event : 
AB A-Kolloquium
Dr. Lars Leszczensky, David Kretschmer & Kathrin Lämmermann
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität Mannheim

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In this talk, we present work from a DFG-funded project seeking to explain religious friendship segregation among Muslim youth. Using German large-scale network data, we find strong gender differences in the processes behind segregation. Among adolescent Muslim girls, a substantial in-group bias is evident, which we attribute to strong endogamy norms that not only prohibit out-group dating but also hamper out-group friendships. By contrast, we find a much weaker in-group bias among Muslim boys, who should be less affected by such norms. However, because non-Muslim youth turn out to be reluctant to be friends with Muslim boys, they end up in segregated friendship networks as well.
In subsequent analyses, we show that Muslim girls’ in-group bias is weak in early adolescence but increases with age. This is consistent with our explanation concerning spillover effects of endogamy norms because such norms only become relevant with the onset of puberty when romantic relationships become more frequent. By contrast, the in-group bias of Muslim boys does not vary with age, which results in a widening gender difference in the course of adolescence. In mediation analyses, we can attribute about half of this emerging gender difference to Muslim boys’ and girls’ religiosity, parental control, and leisure time activities. The bulk of explanatory power stems from the gender-specific effects of these characteristics, pointing to gendered processes among Muslim youth along the lines of gendered endogamy norms.