Skip to main content

Testing the Promise of the Churches: Income Inequality in the Opportunity to Learn Civic Skills in Christian Congregations

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Political researchers point to church activities as a major avenue for lower–class individuals to learn the civic skills necessary for many forms of political participation, the skills that higher–status individuals learn through education and occupation. This article tests this theory through multilevel analyses of the effects of both individual income and average congregational income on three measures of participation in church activities and organizations that offer participants the opportunity to learn and exercise civic skills. The results show that churches are only slightly stratified when it comes to members’ participation in charity, public policy, or social justice organizations within the church, suggesting that they offer some promise to teach civic skills to the lower–income members. Nevertheless, churches are moderately stratified in terms of members’ participation in administration, finance, or buildings organizations within the church, and strongly stratified in organizations in general within the church, suggesting that higher–income members receive the majority of civic–skill practice and training in Christian congregations in the United States.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Pennsylvania State University

Publication date: 2002-09-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more