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Personal Insecurity and Religious Belief - Oxford Admissions

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 19 August 2009

Tom Rees has conducted research into religion and personal insecurity in 50 countries. Using figures on how much people pray and how unequal income is in each of them, he claims to have found evidence to show that the most religious societies are the most unequal, and concludes the inequality leads to religion. Is it fear and hardship that makes people of one country more religious than another, or is there a mysterious third factor that can explain why some nations pray so much more than others? Laurie Taylor talks to Tom Rees about his findings, and to sociologist of religion David Voas.

What are the key factors the underlie acceptance to Oxford University? New research explores the influence of cultural factors on the decisions that admissions tutors make at the elite university. After allowing for exam results and for cultural knowledge, Alice Sullivan tells Laurie that men were twice as likely to get a Science place than women and that some ethnic minorities faced an even greater disadvantage.

  • Dr Tom Rees

    Dr Tom Rees, Independent researcher and a member of Humanists4Science

    Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?
    Journal of Religion and Society (Vol 11 - 2009)
    ISSN: 1522-5658

  • Professor David Voas

    Professor David Voas, Simon Professor of Population Studies at the University of Manchester

    Find out more about David Voas
  • Dr Alice Sullivan

    Dr Alice Sullivan, Research and Training Fellow at the Institute of education, University of London

    Elite Higher Education Admissions in the Arts and Sciences: Is Cultural Capital the Key?
    Anna Zimdars, Alice Sullivan, Anthony Heath
    Sociology, Vol. 43, No. 4, 648-666 (2009)
    DOI: 10.1177/0038038509105413

    Find out more about Alice Sullivan



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