Value- and reflection-based approach to indicators of Orthodox religiosity of the population

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Sergey Lebedev
Mirko Blagojević
Elena Pokaninova


In the contemporary sociology of religion that focuses on the study of Orthodox religiosity, especially in Russia and partly in Serbia, there are different theoretical and methodological approaches to assessing the criteria of orthodox religiosity in the population. Two criteria can be identified as paradigmatic cases: the first one could be called the classical or positivist approach and the second one could be named the alternative or phenomenological approach. Researchers who advocate the first approach believe that the criterion of religiosity must include some practical confirmation of the expressed cultural religiosity of the respondents or the population in general. Therefore, it is not enough to identify oneself as a believer or simply align oneself with a particular confessional community. Instead, this subjective position should be confirmed by objective facts such as the regular practice of religious rituals and ceremonies. Proponents of this approach argue that if we do not adhere to this, then the established number of believers is just fictional without any real content, and thus established believers are actually just imaginary believers.

For supporters of the phenomenological approach to the criteria of Orthodox religiosity, the crucial criterion is the self-identification of the respondents and their awareness of belonging to a religious or confessional group. Authors of this persuasion do not talk so much about religiosity, but instead introduce the notion of churchiness, which is not a discrete position – nor a fixed current state, like religiosity is considered among the first group of researchers – but a process that begins at a certain point in time and more or less approaches the ideal requirements that a real, profoundly churched, true (Orthodox) believer should fulfil.

The authors compare and analyse these approaches in the text, while at the same time presenting the rationale for a third method: the integral value- and reflection-based approach. This approach to the sociological criteria of religiosity is based on concepts of reflection, choice, and context. The criterion of religiosity is proposed as a stable, irreversible intention for immersion of a social actor into a religious context. As such, immersion into the very "core" of religion becomes a basic indicator of a person’s religious value-based orientation.


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How to Cite
Lebedev, S., Blagojević, M., & Pokaninova, E. (2020). Value- and reflection-based approach to indicators of Orthodox religiosity of the population. Stanovnistvo, 58(1), 47–61.

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