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The need for contextual analysis on the role of religion in the Swedish development cooperation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, The Centre for the Study of Religion and Society. (The Impact of Religion – Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1889-7085
2016 (English)In: For Better for Worse: The Role of Religion in Development Cooperation / [ed] Robert Odén, Halmstad, Sweden: Swedish Mission Council , 2016, 51-60 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article aims to explore the role of religion in the Swedish Development Cooperation. Faith-based organisations (FBOs) have historically been social movements in development and in the forefront of service delivery and social justice, but religion as a societal phenomenon has until recently not been sufficiently taken into account by donors in international aid. But this is changing and religion is increasingly more visible in development policies. This raised interest at the global level can partly be explained by a shift in global politics and partly by a discursive transformation, a religious turn, within the social sciences, predominantly in Development Studies. Scholars and policy makers have also started to explore and analyse the influence of religion in development cooperation. It has been found that that although FBOs have gained increased visibility, religion as a societal phenomenon has remained an invisible factor. Additionally, most analysis on religion has, until recently, taken its point of departure in the Global North. Most development actors, including the Swedish Government Agencies, have failed to comprehensively understand or recognize the importance of religion outside the dialogue with the Christian Aid Organisations. For those of us aware that religion influences norms, societies and politics at all levels and is a key dimension of poor people’s lives in all developing countries, this may sound surprising. The lack of knowledge about religion, religious practices and beliefs has been a hindrance to the development process. If there was a greater understanding about the role of religion in the context of development, better results would be achieved and development work would be relevant and thereby more efficient.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Halmstad, Sweden: Swedish Mission Council , 2016. 51-60 p.
Keyword [en]
Religion Development Sida Poverty
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-304519ISBN: 9185141259OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-304519DiVA: diva2:1033180
The Impact of Religion – Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy
Available from: 2016-10-06 Created: 2016-10-06 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved

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