PROJECT: The Paradox of Interrelation between Religion and Family in Modern Russia (Research grant RSF)
FUNDING: The project was supported by the Russian Science Foundation in a form of a grant (project № 18-78-10089, https://rscf.ru/en/project/18-78-10089/). The grant was given to Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University.
DURATION OF THE PROJECT: 2018 – 2023
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Ivan Pavlyutkin
ABOUT THE PROJECT 2021 – 2023
The research project is aimed at perfecting the social theory and methodology that will help explain the non-linear connection between religion (on the example of Christianity) and family in modern Russian society which went through forced secularisation. In the twentieth century social sciences had a consensus on a strong institutional linkage between family and religion which has been confirmed by empirical studies in most developed countries with a predominantly Christian population. Despite the general trends of secularisation and the decline of the institutional role of religion in the twenty-first century, the various individual and social attributes of religiosity still have a direct or indirect positive impact on the stability of marriages, the overall birth rate, the probability of having two or more children in the family as well as the ideal and desired number of children [Adsera 2006; Philipov, Berghammer 2007; Zhang 2011; Frejka, Westoff 2008; Heaton 2011; Peri-Rotem 2016; Herzer 2019]. However, in predominantly Orthodox post-Soviet countries the connection between the signs of religiosity and family life is not so strong which gives rise to interest in a more in-depth study of their specifics [Buber, Ennser, Berghammer 2021]. The specifics of the Russian context are that despite the observed and complex desecularisation processes of the last thirty years, they do not symmetrically reflect in the stability of marriages and the birth rate. To understand and to adequately explain the specifics mentioned above, it is necessary to perfect social sciences and methodology where religion and family are not studied as parallel phenomena foreign to each other. The existing research often does not take into consideration the theoretical and methodological specifics of studying religion and religiosity in Eastern European countries when creating models for explanation [Tomka 2006; Sinelnikov, Medkov, Antonov 2009]. The last decade has seen growth in the number of publications in which, based on Russian data, the importance of the religious factor for the the birth rate and the stability of marriages is proven and explained. There has been an understanding that discussing policy concerning family and birth rates is impossible without discussing the impact of religion. Today it is shown that statistically the number of children in religious families is bigger than in non-religious ones, religiosity explains growth in the number of families with many children, religion has an impact on second and the following births in Russia [Karabchuk, Kechetova 2017; Roschina 2018; Borisova, Pavlyutkin 2019]. One can make a well-founded assumption that it is the religious factor that impacts the growth in the number of families with many children in large and medium-sized cities of Russia over the last fifteen years. At the same time, there is almost no research that could explain how exactly the factor makes an impact and which signs of religiosity are significant. One of the conclusions drawn from the previous stage of the Paradox of Interrelation between Religion and Family in Modern Russia research project was that the so-called third factors performing the function of moderating or switching the direction and the power of connection between family and religion between the characteristics of family and religion gain an importance in explaining specifics of the interrelation [Borisova, Pavlyutkin 2019; Goleva 2019]. They allow one to talk about different interrelation models which manifest for different population groups. In this connection, continuing the realisation of the project, we suggest focusing on theoretical and empirical study of the third factors governing the force of the interrelation between family and religion: marriage patterns, types of religious communities (parishes), characteristics of family-friendly social environment, and educational practices. The realisation of the project using primary and secondary empirical data will allow one to assess the input and the importance of religion and make the mechanics of its influence on the state of family and the birth rate.
INTERVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS IN THE PRESS
ABOUT THE PROJECT 2018 – 2021
The research project is aimed at the systematic study of the effects of religion (the main focus on Christianity) in the family life in Russian society that has gone through the forced secularization and detraditionalization of the family). In modern social sciences, religion and family are considered as completely independent Institutions. Researchers of family and fertility do not include into their explanatory models theoretical and methodological features of religion and religiosity studies. The existing sociological and economic studies base on the presupposition of religious coherence and include indicators of confessional affiliation or subjective assessments of religiosity without measuring such factors as regularity of religiosity practices, religious socialization and embeddedness of a family in social relations within the parishes. Such “poor methodology” shows either the absence of significance or weak influence of religious indicators on family and fertility. In addition, researchers do not apply methods of interviewing a married couple (husband and wife) and don’t focus on father involvement and large families formation. That is why interpretations of the meaning of religion for a family are reduced to a description of formal rules and religious prescriptions, which supposed to guide family life. Beyond the study of the relationship between religion and family, on the one hand, the substantial meaning of religion, expressed in the categories of ethics and virtues (fidelity, responsibility, humility, etc.), and on the other hand, different types of religiosity and social mechanisms of religious influence parish social networks, godparents, etc. Inattention to religious factors is often explained by the emphasis on the process of social modernization and the decline of the value orientation, which is specific to traditional institutions. Meanwhile, both Russian and international studies of values show the significance of family and children values for Russians, compared to the inhabitants of other European countries.
This research focuses on overcoming the theoretical and methodological gap in family and religion research in the social sciences. Realization of the project using primary and secondary empirical data will allow to assess the contribution and significance of religion, and also to clarify the mechanics of its influence on family sustainability and fertility.
INTERVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS IN THE PRESS