Panel 5

Panel 5 - Open


Philipp Öhlmann ( Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Marie-Luise Frost - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Wilhelm Gräb - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Ignatius Swart - University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Title & Content:

Religion and Development 


The past 20 years have witnessed a religious turn in development theory, policy and practice. A growing corpus of academic research has begun to investigate the manifold relationships and interactions of religion and development. An interdisciplinary and dynamic research field on religion and development has emerged. At the same time, policy-makers and practitioners have recognized religion as a relevant factor for development. Leading examples are the initiatives by the World Bank, the British Department for International Development and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Against this background, the aim of the panel is to investigate the role of religion in processes of sustainable development in different contexts and from different disciplinary perspectives. The religion and development nexus will be approached from three different angles.

First, relating to the institutional level: How do religious communities contribute to sustainable development in its economic, social and ecological dimensions? How do religious communities
hinder these processes, e.g. through political involvement? How the approaches of religious
communities differ from those of non-religious actors?

Second, at an ideological level: How do the beliefs and values of religious communities relate to
development objectives such as poverty reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals? What
are common grounds of values between religious communities and development policy, what are
fields of tensions?

A third stream relates to methodology: How can the impact of religion on development be traced?
What methodological approaches are suitable to approach religion and development? What
methodological innovations are needed?
Alternatively, the above proposal could be structured as a working group with three different panels
relating to the three streams outlined.