2020-05-29Teil eines Buches DOI: 10.18452/22962
Religion and Sustainable Development: The “Secular Distinction” in Development Policy and Its Implication for Development Cooperation with Religious Communities
Development policy and research increasingly recognize the potential contribution of religious communities to sustainable development. The emerging discourse on religion and development, however, is contingent on Western discursive contexts that operate on the basis of a “secular distinction” between the religious and the secular. Development is located in the secular sphere and the resultant approach to religion is functional. We show this for the case of German development policy by investigating key policy documents on religion and development. The secular notion of development stands in contrast to the perspective of development by religious communities in “developing countries”, which we highlight using the example of African Initiated Churches. In these churches’ view, people’s spiritual and material needs are intertwined, and sustainable development as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be separated from religious dimensions of life. Notions of development, we hence argue, constitute forms of situated knowledge dependent on their discursive contexts. If development cooperation is to engage with religious communities at the level of values, ideas and beliefs, it must also engage with their notions of development as ends of mutual partnership.
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Final version published as: Philipp Öhlmann, Stefan Hunglinger, Wilhelm Gräb, Marie-Luise Frost: “Religion and Sustainable Development: The ‘Secular Distinction’ in Development Policy and Its Implication for Development Cooperation with Religious Communities”. In: Religion in Motion: Rethinking Religion, Knowledge and Discourse in a Globalizing World. Edited by Julian Hensold, Jordan Kynes, Philipp Öhlmann, Vanessa Rau, Rosa Coco Schinagl, Adela Taleb. Cham: Springer, 2020, pages 119–137. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-41388-0_8