Palgrave Communications | Article | open
Religion and poverty
Editors: Dr Gottfried Schweiger and Dr Helmut P Gaisbauer (Centre for Ethic and Poverty Research, University of Salzburg, Austria); Prof Clemens Sedmak (Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King's College London, UK/Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research, University of Salzburg, Austria).
Poverty and religion are interrelated in different ways. On the one hand, for various religious traditions poverty is both an aspect of a particular faithful life (e.g. monastic communities) and giving to the poor is seen as a religious duty. Such traditions have evolved over time and expanded the role that faith-based organisations nowadays play in welfare provision and international development. Faith-based organisations play an important role in poverty alleviation both in rich and poor countries. These actions and practices, as well as their religious and theological underpinnings, deserve scrutiny. On the other hand, religion plays an important role in the life of people living in poverty: how they experience and shape their living, and how they find their place in society and the communities in which they. The role of religion in justifying certain inequalities and processes of exclusion (e.g. in India) and thus contributing to the sustainability of poverty is another important theme worth reflection.
This collection explores the question: how can religion be used as a vehicle to overcome structures of poverty, and how does it sometimes hinder such processes?
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