Does Religious Attendance Increase Immigrant Political Participation?: A Case Study in Australia

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Journal Article
Politics and Religion, 2017, 10 (2), pp. 440 - 460
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© 2017 Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. The relationship between religion and immigrant political participation has not been rigorously investigated in the literature set in Australia. In this study, I test whether religious attendance influences electoral and non-electoral participation among immigrants. Drawing on data from the 2013 Australian Election Study, I demonstrate that the impact of religious attendance on political participation may be overstated. I find that religious attendance is not significantly related to electoral and non-electoral participation among immigrants in Australia. This result may relate to three factors: the ability of religious attendance to affect immigrants' key political resources; competition between religious and secular organizations; and the political salience of particular religious denominations within the Australian context. This study does not provide the much sought-after empirical confirmation to associational theories of political participation, but instead sounds a note of caution about the universal applicability of such theories.
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