Divine self and selves: Religious practices and orientations toward religion among adolescents in globalizing northern Thailand.

Mounting evidence suggests that modern globalization is reshaping the lives of young people around the globe. Strikingly little is known, though, about how globalization affects young people’s orientations toward religion. In the current study, 40 Thai adolescents–divided across variously globalized settings–took part in individual interviews and completed questionnaires on their religious practices. Mixed methods analyses indicate similarities and differences in framings of religious practices among adolescents residing in rural and urban communities. Rural adolescents reported engaging in a wide range of religious practices, including actions that support Buddhist monks, temples, family, and community, and illustrate adherence to Buddhist teachings. Urban adolescents discussed a restricted range of religious practices, focusing on one action that supports monks and actions that support the development of the self. Rural and urban adolescents alike spoke of social others when discussing their religious practices; framings, however, diverged across cultural lines. Rural adolescents framed religion as a relational experience that necessarily includes family members, friends, and teachers. Urban adolescents, meanwhile, often qualified their relational religious practices by emphasizing distinctions between their own and their parents’ practices, and highlighting feelings of obligation that accompany practicing with family. Distinct framings of the divine self and selves across cultural lines suggest movement from an interdependent to a more independent orientation toward religion as communities become increasingly urbanized, high in technology, and shift toward a commerce-based economy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)