SWLF 3266

Religion and Social Welfare

This seminar aims to examine the relationship between religion and social welfare development. The course underlines the role of religion in the development of social protection and welfare regimes in developed and developing countries. The course is separated into two parts: one theoretically oriented, and the other is case study focused. All case studies examine actors within the welfare state that are engaged in promoting generous social safety nets. The course provides examples of the behaviors of various actors, such as religious political parties or philanthropic NGOs on the impact of welfare policy development. The theoretical section of the course addresses classic approaches to the emergence of the welfare state. It also considers the dominant neoliberal world economy’s impact on welfare dynamics and the increasing importance of the informal sector. It questions the universal aspect of some models of welfare development; for example, those based on culture and economic development premises, such as the Confucius model of the welfare state. The course also questions the assumption of religious actors as a panacea in providing social service and social safety nets. To what level can faith-based organizations really be altruistic in the competing international context of philanthropic religious organizations?