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Religion and the New ImmigrantsSocial Capital, Identity, and Civic Engagement$
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Michael W. Foley and Dean R. Hoge

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195188707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195188707.001.0001

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 Becoming American

 Becoming American

(p.23) 1 Becoming American
Religion and the New Immigrants

Michael W. Foley

Dean R. Hoge

Oxford University Press

Recent theories of civic engagement suggest three major pathways by which worship communities could promote the social and civic incorporation of recent immigrants: providing immigrants with social capital and supplying linkages to the wider society (the social capital argument); playing a role themselves as civic actors (the civil society argument); and giving them civic skills and mobilizing them for civic or political action (the civic participation model). Both as civic actors and in mobilizing members, worship communities also shape people's conceptions of themselves as citizens, promoting a particular identity as players in the civic arena. Worship communities differ in the way each of these pathways plays out, depending upon the circumstances of the group's immigration and reception in the United States, the organizational culture of the worship community, and the interpretation of its religious tradition that shapes it.

Keywords:   worship communities, civic incorporation, social capital, civil society, civic skills, identity, immigration, organizational culture, religious tradition

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