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Jan-Philip Steinmann

Postdoctoral researcher

Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN)

My name is Jan-Philip Steinmann and I am head of the research unit “Aetiology of Deviance” at the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) and affiliated postdoctoral researcher at the Research Institute Social Cohesion (RISC) at the University of Bremen, Germany. I consider myself a sociologist, on the edge of cultural sociology and social structure analysis. My research interests, in the broadest sense, relate to causes and consequences of (decreasing or increasing) social cohesion. Thereby, I mainly focus on social inequalities, migration processes and immigrants’ integration, right-wing populism, and deviant behavior. Across all these topics, I investigate paradoxical effects of religion. Although I am mostly using quantitative empirical methods, I am also conducting mixed methods research.

I hold a doctoral degree from the University of Goettingen, Germany. I have been visiting student/researcher at Utrecht University and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) in The Hague.

My work appeared in several journals including European Journal of Criminology, International Migration Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie.

Work in Progress

A mixed-methods study on out-group hostility and religiosity among Muslim inmates in German youth prisons. The role of religious discrimination and opportunity structure

For incarcerated Muslims, prisons can become challenging environments due to the skepticism of liberal democracies towards Islamic values. The article addresses the perceived religious discrimination and the lack of religious opportunity structure among adolescent Muslim inmates. It examines how these religion-related in-prison experiences affect Muslim inmates’ hostility towards out-groups. Further, it investigates whether the link between religion-related in-prison experiences and out-group hostility depends on Muslim inmates’ religiosity. Building on the general strain theory, religion-related in-prison experiences are conceptualized as strainful events which may lead to out-group hostility. The coping literature is used to identify different dimensions of religiosity that should either strengthen or weaken the relationship of interest. Based on data from four German juvenile prisons, a mixed methods research design was applied. The qualitative data (N = 22) indicates that Muslim inmates do experience disadvantages concerning the opportunities to practice religion. However, they seem to be rather grateful than feeling discriminated against. Findings based on the quantitative data (N = 311) show that perceived religious discrimination was positively linked to out-group hostility, but the lack of religious opportunity structure was not. None of the dimensions of religiosity significantly moderated the association between perceived religious discrimination and out-group hostility.

Religiosität und Delinquenz unter christlichen und muslimischen Jugendlichen

Der Beitrag untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen Religiosität und Jugenddelinquenz für christliche und muslimische Jugendliche und hinterfragt die Annahme einer negativen linearen Verknüpfung beider Konstrukte aus früherer Forschung. Stattdessen wird vermutet, dass eine delinquenzreduzierende Wirkung von Religiosität nur bis zu einem gewissen Grad an Religiosität vorhanden ist und sich anschließend in eine delinquenzsteigernde Wirkung verkehren sollte, sodass insgesamt von einer u-förmigen Beziehung zwischen Religiosität und Jugenddelinquenz auszugehen ist. Zur Untermauerung dieser Vermutung werden theoretische Perspektiven vorgestellt, die einerseits eine delinquenzreduzierende (soziale Kontrolle, Lernprozesse, Umgang mit Belastungen) und andererseits eine delinquenzsteigernde Wirkung von Religiosität (Fundamentalismus, wahrgenommene Benachteiligung) plausibilisieren. Basierend auf einer Befragung von Jugendlichen der neunten Jahrgangsstufe an niedersächsischen Schulen aus dem Jahr 2022 wird das Vorliegen einer u-förmigen Beziehung zwischen Religiosität und Jugenddelinquenz überprüft. Empirisch zeigt sich, dass zwischen Religiosität und Gewaltdelikten eine kurvilineare, zwischen Religiosität und Eigentumsdelikten jedoch eine lineare Verknüpfung besteht. Diese Befunde gelten sowohl für christliche als auch muslimische Jugendliche. Abschließend werden die Verallgemeinerbarkeit der Ergebnisse sowie die Limitationen des Beitrags diskutiert.

Misperceptions of the foreign-born population size in European societies. The role of immigration-related national discourses

In this article, we explore cross-national variations in misperceptions of the foreign-born population size in European societies. We provide theoretical reasoning why national discourses on immigration articulated by politics and media should influence individual (mis)perceptions. Differentiating between salience and valence of national discourses, we also examine their interplay with individuals’ actual exposure to political and media debates. The results of multilevel regression analyses using 2014 European Social Survey (ESS) data suggest that mere salience of national discourses on immigration is not decisive when explaining (mis)perceptions of the foreign-born population size. Regarding the valence of immigration-related national discourses, we identify an ambivalent role of political discourse that is more immigrant-friendly. In countries with inclusive discourse, overestimation of the number of foreign-born people is less likely to occur but also underestimation is more pronounced. Moreover, effects of national discourse on individual misperceptions are not conditional on people’s exposure to politics and media.

Explaining the relationship between religiosity and anti-diversity attitudes among Christians in Western Germany

Research on whether religiosity promotes or reduces prejudice has produced plenty of paradoxical findings. In this article we address the relationship between religiosity and anti-diversity attitudes (xenophobia and homophobia) among Christians in Western Germany. We ask what the relationship between religiosity and anti-diversity attitudes is and how it can be explained. Two (complementary) theoretical explanations are presented: the religious-ideology explanation emphasizes the role of fundamentalism, and the loss-of-privileges explanation underscores the importance of perceived disadvantage. Our analysis is based on a representative sample of Christians in Western Germany and provides evidence of a curvilinear religiosity-prejudice relationship. Up to a certain level of religiosity, xenophobia and homophobia decrease as religiosity increases; however, the relationship then reverses—anti-diversity attitudes are particularly pronounced among the highly religious. The level of xenophobia among the highly religious is fully explained by fundamentalism and perceived disadvantage, whereas their level of homophobia is only partially explained.

Has immigration slowed down secularization in Germany? Empirical evidence from 2014 to 2021

The aim of this data visualization is to answer the question whether immigration has acted as a counter-secularization force in Germany in recent years. The hypothesis is based on the tendency of first- and second-generation immigrants to exhibit higher levels of religiosity compared to the host populations. Simulation analysis involving more than 15,000 respondents of data from the 2014 to 2021 “German General Social Survey” (GGSS) indicates that the increase in the immigrant population during this period does not emerge as a substantial counterforce to religious decline in both East and West Germany. An effective slowdown in secularization in Germany would have required a more substantial increase in immigration and a notably higher level of religious engagement among new arrivals and their descendants than was observed.

Religious well-being benefits in times of crisis. Religiosity, social integration, and changes in subjective well-being during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany

A large body of literature highlights the benefits of being religious in terms of subjective well-being. We examine changes to these so-called religious well-being benefits during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany and address the role of (formal and informal) social integration when explaining these changes. We empirically test two contrasting scenarios: The first scenario predicts a decrease in religious well-being benefits (convergence hypothesis), while the second scenario predicts an increase in religious well-being benefits (divergence hypothesis). We adopt a potential outcomes framework and apply marginal structural models and inverse probability of treatment weighting to nationally representative, longitudinal data including both pre- and during-pandemic periods, Thereby, we show that initial religious well-being benefits declined during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. This decline was partly due to religious individuals’ perception of decreasing social integration. Our results challenge the widespread idea that religious individuals are better protected against crises.

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