Religion in International Politics and Development

Religion in International Politics and Development

The World Bank and Faith Institutions

John A. Rees

This unique and fascinating book illustrates that in moving the research agenda forward – despite whatever methodological pitfalls that may await in the attempt – the dynamics of religion must now be considered to be of central and abiding importance in the study of world politics.

Chapter 7: Development and the Sacral Deficit

John A. Rees

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, international relations


Modernity is secular, not in the frequent, rather loose sense of the word, where it designates the absence of religion, but rather in the fact that religion occupies a different place, compatible with the sense that all social action takes place in profane time. Charles Taylor (2004, p. 194) Methods, one must repeat ten times, are the essential, as well as being the most difficult. Nietzsche, The Antichrist (cited in Boff, 1987) Having considered the disintegration of the dynamics of religion from the perspective of development orthodoxy, I shall conclude by considering the dynamics of religion at the WBG from a critical development perspective. The dynamics of religion model is here combined with critical development to produce another reading of the faith and development initiative of the WBG. 7.1 THE DYNAMICS OF RELIGION IN CRITICAL DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE To reiterate the description previously offered, the aim of critical theory is to examine the existing order and question how that order has been formed, and then focus on the ways that the order may be transformed (Cox, 1996, pp. 89–90). Cox made the distinction between problem solving theory and critical theory. Unlike problem solving theory which seeks to explain events using existing structures and actors, a critical approach does not take institutions or social and power relations as natural or given, rather critical theory seeks to explore their origins and assess whether they are in the process of changing (Cox, 1996, pp. 97–9). Critical approaches explore the potential for alternatives...

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