Race, class, congregational embeddedness, and civic and political participation

Philip Schwadel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Purpose - This chapter analyzes stratification in embeddedness in religious congregations, as well as the civic and political implications of this stratification in congregational embeddedness. Methodology - With data from more than 70,000 attendees of 385 congregations, I examine how race, education, and income affect the prevalence of friendships in religious congregations, and how these friendships affect civic and political activity. Findings - Analyses of friendships show that white and lower-class Americans are particularly likely to have close friends in their congregations, and attendees are disproportionately likely to have close friends in their congregations when other attendees are of the same race and level of education. Analyses of civic and political participation show that congregational friendships are strongly associated with civic and political participation, though the positive effects of congregational friendships on civic and political participation are moderately reduced for African- Americans and lower-class attendees. Research Implications - The findings are relevant to future research on congregational stability, stratification in access to social resources, and U.S. civil society. Originality/Value - This research shows that the resources that accompany congregational embeddedness, like many other resources, are stratified by race, education, and income.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReligion, Work and Inequality
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781780523460
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in the Sociology of Work
ISSN (Print)0277-2833


  • Civic participation
  • Education
  • Income
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Social class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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