Religiosity or religious orientation: What matters more for the integration of Turkish Muslims in Germany?


The RIRA project will present and discuss its research on religion and integration at the 41st DSG Congress.

The topic of religion has been contested in the literature on immigrant integration, and particularly an Islamic affiliation is conceived of as problematic for inclusion in Europe’s increasingly secularizing societies. The secular character of European receiving societies is further emphasized by empirical evidence showing that on top of religious affiliation, a higher level of religiosity stands in the way of identification with European national identities. When it comes to other domains and outcomes of immigrant integration, such as employment status, educational attainment, interethnic contacts, participation in voluntary associations, and attitudes such as support for democracy, civil liberties and gender equality, findings regarding the importance of individual differences in religiosity are very mixed; in fact for each of these outcomes, there are studies showing positive, negative or no associations with individual differences in immigrants’ religiosity. Based on a prevalent approach in the psychology of religion that conceptualizes religious orientations to be independent of religiosity, the current paper examines whether the way minority members reason about religion is a more powerful and consistent predictor of multiple domains of integration. More specifically, drawing on data of Turkish-origin Muslims residing in Germany (N=500) that were sampled for the KONID study, we examine how religious literalism and theological exclusivism relate to educational attainment, labour market participation, intergroup contact, sense of belonging to Germany, participation in associations and volunteering, over and above variation in levels of religiosity (i.e., subjective importance of religion and participation in communal and private prayer). Our overarching hypothesis is that, in contrast to a more symbolic and inclusive approach to religion, a literal and exclusivist approach is a stronger negative predictors of, and explains larger portions of the variance in, integration outcomes.


The 41st Congress of the German Society for Sociology is scheduled to take place from September 26th to 30th, 2022 at Bielefeld University. The conference contribution of the RIRA project is planned for September 30, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Further information can be found on the congress website and in the program of events.