Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Children and Youth Studies

pp 845-860


Spirituality, Religion, and Youth: An Introduction

  • Douglas EzzyAffiliated withSchool of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania Email author 
  • , Anna HalafoffAffiliated withCentre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University


This chapter introduces the concepts of religion and spirituality , particularly as these relate to young people. It reviews some of the major changes that are occurring in contemporary society and how these changes are reflected in the types of religions and spiritualities that young people are practicing. The processes of globalization, international migration, and the mass media provide more choice and increase uncertainty. In this context, the chapter examines some case studies to illustrate how some young people are embracing these choices and uncertainty, practicing Witchcraft as a religion and finding spiritual meaning in dance parties such as raves. In contrast, other young people find various forms of fundamentalisms attractive because they offer certainty in the face of unsettling and insecure times. Finally we discuss the rise of Pentecostalism in Africa and the issue of religious teaching in secular schools.