Social Conflicts, Religion and Human Rights Support: A Study of Young Christians and Muslims in Scandinavia

  • Pål Ketil BotvarEmail author
  • Anders Sjöborg
Part of the Religion and Human Rights book series (REHU, volume 3)


Previous research among young people (Spini D, Doise W, Eur J Soc Psychol 28:603–622, 1998, Doise W, Spini D, Clèmence A, Eur J Soc Psychol 29:1–29, 1999) has shown that attitudes toward human rights are influenced by perception of conflicts in society and experience of discrimination and that political affiliation as well as religion also may have effect. However interesting these results are for understanding what factors that may contribute to grassroots’ engagement in human rights, these studies have failed to consider important background variables such as gender and parents’ education level, and neither did they include nuanced operationalisations of religion. Drawing on data gathered in Norwegian and Swedish metropolitan upper secondary schools (n = 2044) this article therefore aims to replicate earlier research correcting for these shortcomings. The analysis shows that while religion has a limited effect on attitudes towards political and judicial rights, controlled for background variables, the effect of and perception of conflicts related to ethnicity and perceived discrimination add significantly to the explanation of agreement with political and judicial rights. Our analyses also show that Christians do not report more discrimination related to ideology and ethnicity than non-religious. Muslims however report significantly more discrimination related to ideology and ethnicity than Christians and non-religious. This study shows that there is a relation between such perceived discrimination and attitudes towards political and judicial human rights.


Young people Human rights Political human rights Judicial human rights Religion Conflicts Discrimination Political orientation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Religion and Worldview ResearchKIFO Institute for ChurchOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of TheologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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