Youth and Religion in East and Southeast Asia

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This chapter attempts to map out the different trends concerning youth and religion in East and Southeast Asia today. By drawing from case studies from various parts of the region, five trends have been identified: conversion, intensification, identity construction, social engagement, and political participation. Invoking the coexistence thesis, these trends demonstrate that there is no one narrative or linear direction concerning the fortunes of religion among young people in the region. In the latter section, the chapter draws from these case studies to identify the social conditions that account for the flourishing of religion among these youth. These are all tied to social change brought about by economic growth and its challenges in the region. As an intervention in the literature, the chapter hopes to stimulate interest in conducting large-scale and comparative studies on youth and religion in East and Southeast Asia.