A philosophy of social service: faith or social insurance?

Rana Jawad

in Social welfare and religion in the Middle East

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349538
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303510 | DOI:
A philosophy of social service: faith or social insurance?

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This chapter aims to demonstrate that religion welfare operates on a continuum where the dividing line between the secular and religious is not so sharp. It reports direct evidence on the lived experience of social welfare in the Middle East, based on the Lebanese case studies and on supplementary examples from Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. The chapter considers the motivations and basic philosophy that underlie religious welfare in Lebanon. It sets the scene by describing how social welfare in Lebanon is conceived, motivated, and conceptualised as policy. It explores four themes. First, it discusses the motivations that inspired social service from the perspectives of individual-based positions and formal institutional standpoints. Second, it identifies the nature of welfare as a philosophical discourse. It discusses how religious welfare is conceptualised from the perspectives of organised religion, sectarianism, and personal faith. Third, the chapter looks at decision-making and policy elaboration processes that translate the philosophical motivations and values into policy objectives. The chapter ends by discussing the extent to which social welfare is of intrinsic value.

Keywords: welfare; lived experience; religious welfare; social service; sectarianism; policy elaboration

Chapter.  21740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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