Religion in Development
Rewriting the Secular Script
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About the author
Séverine Deneulin is Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, UK. She holds a DPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She has published The Capability Approach and the Praxis of Development (2006) and co-edited Transforming Unjust Structures (2006).Masooda Bano holds an ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford and is a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. She was awarded MPhil in Development Studies at Cambridge and DPhil at Oxford and also is a Research Associate at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. She has acted as a consultant to many international development agencies including DFID, UNESCO and Save the Children (UK).
Development practice is full of examples of the importance of religion in the lives of people in developing countries. However, religion has largely remained unexplored in development studies. This timely new book aims to fill that gap. The authors expertly review how religion has been treated in the evolution of development thought, how it has been conceptualised in the social sciences, and highlights the major deficiencies of the assumption of secularism.The book argues that development theory and practice needs to rewrite its dominant script regarding its treatment of religion, a script which has so far been heavily inscribed in the secular tradition. It puts forward an understanding of religions as traditions: that religions rest on central thesis and teachings which never cease to be re-interpreted in the light of the social, political and historical context. In addition to providing a conceptual framework for analysing the role of religion in development, the book provides numerous empirical examples drawn from the Christian and Islamic religious traditions. This comprehensive new guide to this key issue is essential for students, development thinkers and practitioners who wish to understand better the role that religion plays in development processes and outcomes.
; October 2009
192 pages; ISBN 9781848137684Read online
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Title: Religion in Development
Author: Séverine Deneulin
In the press
'Religion in Development reminds us of the forgotten role of religion in Development. Séverine Deneulin and Masooda Bano tell us that the usual focus of the study of Development on the nation-state is parochial. Scholarship on Development suffers from the same myopia ... Religion in Development introduces a shift in the conceptual framework that separates Development from the linear, rational idea of progress ... Religion in Development deserves to be read carefully to understand the paradoxes and irony of Development. It is lucid, creative and sensitive.'Abdul Aziz Said, American University'This volume provides a remarkably concise and clear introduction to a new emerging field in development studies. So far development theory and practise has tended to ignore the impact of the importance of religious ideas, beliefs and practices on development. This neglect is addressed head on by Dr. Severine Deneulin in a way that makes the text appealing, accessible and very attractive to undergraduates, postgraduates and teachers interested in the subject from a variety of disciplines. Religion in Development fills an important gap in the subject area and will certain become essential reading for all those who want to find out more about the manifold interactions between religions and development.'Gurharpal Singh, University of Birmingham'For too long in Development Studies the response to religion has been blindness or embarrassment, occasionally even hostility. In the excellent work of Severine Deneulin and Masooda Bano we now have a new basis, firmly rooted in good judgment and buttressed by the best research, for bringing religion in to the mainstream of development policy and research. Their book is an eloquent case against treating religion either as an obstacle to change or as a policy instrument, and against treating religious leadership as mere clients or project managers. They show that a coherent approach cannot consider religion in general as a homogeneous package, but also that a coherent approach must take account of the pervasiveness and variety of religious cultures and practices, and of religiously inspired politics. With its clear style and abundance of telling examples, this book will be indispensable to policymakers, practitioners and academics working in development.'David Lehmann, Cambridge University'The intersections of international development and religion take many surprising forms; they force a reevaluation of religion's roles in society and of the very purposes of the development challenge. Severine Deneulin's book explores the intellectual roots of debates around the topic and their implications for both Christianity and Islam and for development practice.'Katherine Marshall