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:

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This book marks the preliminary attempt to consider the role of religion in social welfare from the perspectives of local social actors in the Middle Eastern context. Drawing on the case of Lebanon and using supplementary evidence from Egypt, Iran, and Turkey, the book has explored dynamic characters of religious identity and values as these provide solutions to real social problems. The underlying concern has been to provide an understanding of how religious welfare is conceptualised, how it is applied in practice, and what value it holds as a basis for social policy in Lebanon and the wider Middle East region. The main objective of this book has been to describe and understand how welfare providers and users in Lebanon perceive religious welfare, use it to achieve goals of human well-being, and evaluate its impact on their lives. This chapter concludes that the first and the biggest challenge that this book is proposing is one related to the collective mindset on the role of religion in public life. To this end, it is important to remember that there are also progressive-minded Middle Easterners who would oppose religious involvement in the public sphere just as vehemently as any seasoned secular social policy thinker in the West might. However, the foundations of social policy are underpinned by religion and faith, and it is to the foundations of religion in the Middle East that this book has turned in order to imagine something new for the region, based on something that is already very old.

Keywords: religion; social welfare; Lebanon; religious identity; religious welfare; Middle East

Chapter.  3536 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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