SOCS4001 Religion and Development

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Political Science and International Relations [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
Arguably, religion and development are inseparable because the ways people use land, distribute resources, and envision a good life are shaped by their broader views of the cosmos and their place within it. Since the axial age, moreover, religious traditions have addressed themselves to problems of injustice and inequality emergent in complex urban societies. Until recently, however, development studies has been an unabashedly secular field. In this unit, students query the secularity of modern ideologies of development, and examine the theories and practices of development embedded in major and minor religious traditions. They also examine the re-engagement between secular institutions focused on development and what have come to be known as 'faith-based organisations' (FBOs) and are often envisioned as better vehicles for service delivery than state institutions. In research essays and analytical essays, students apply theories of religion and development to bear on specific case studies drawn from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. In written and oral work, students examine the role of religion in development, considering the convergence and conflict between secular and spiritual means and ends.
Students are able to (1) critically evaluate the conflicts and convergences among religious and secular approaches to development; (2) apply theories of religion and development to case studies; (3) discuss approaches to development and wellbeing in religious traditions; and (4) improve written and oral communication skills.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) an essay; (2) an analytical exercise; (3) an examination; and (4) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Debra McDougall
Unit rules
Advisable prior study:
BP001 Bachelor of Arts (major in Anthropology and Sociology, Political Science, History)
Contact hours
seminars: 20 hours

The following texts are indicative only:

Barnett, M. N. and Stein, J. G., eds Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism: OUP 2012

Benthall, J. and Bellion-Jourdan, J., eds The Charitable Crescent: Politics of Aid in the Muslim World: I. B. Tauris 2003

Clarke, M., ed. Handbook of Research on Development and Religion: Edger Elkin 2013

Marshall, K. Global Institutions of Religion: Ancient Movers, Modern Shakers: Routledge 2013

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.