Journal of Contemporary Religion 36(2) pp 287-309

The relationship between religion and civil society at the macro-level has attracted the attention of sociologists of religion but empirical detail of how religion is connected to the social relations and practices that constitute local civil society is relatively lacking. This article explores the contemporary social and communal significance of the religious dimension in local civil society using the authors’ ethnographic fieldwork and biographical interviews in a post-industrial village in North East Wales. Data on social change and participation in the locality include evidence of decline in religious affiliation and practice alongside the persistence of religion in the built environment, family ties, memory, and sense of belonging. The evidence can be used to inform a number of recent debates in both the sociology of religion and studies of civil society, including (post)secularity, religiously motivated social action, networks and associations, beliefs and belonging.