With eighty percent of the world's population professing religious faith, religious belief is a common human characteristic. This fascinating and highly unique Handbook brings together state-of-the-art research on incorporating religion into development studies. The expert contributors illustrate that as religious identity is integral to a community's culture, exclusion of religious consideration will limit successful development interventions; it is therefore necessary to conflate religion and development to enhance efforts to improve the lives of the poor. Issues addressed include: key tenets, beliefs and histories of religions; religious response to development concerns (gender, environment, education, microfinance, humanitarian assistance); and the role of faith based organisations and missionaries in the wider development context. Practical case studies of countries across Africa, Eastern Europe and the Pacific (including Australia) underpin the research, providing evidence that the intersection between religion and development is neither new r static. By way of conclusion, suggestions are prescribed for extensive further research in order to advance understanding of this nascent field. This path-breaking Handbook will prove a thought-provoking and stimulating reference tool for academics, researchers and students in international development, international relations, comparative religion and theology.
Edited by Matthew Clarke, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia