This book explores the links between religion, states, social welfare and social change in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Building on the author’s previous analysis of how religious beliefs, practices and values influence social behaviour and relationships, especially within families, this book focuses on the organisational characteristics of religions and societies.

The book considers how Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist organisations working in different contexts express the religious values of charity and compassion in practical activities to improve social welfare. Drawing on extensive empirical research, the book maps the organisations involved, identifying the factors that explain their choice of activities, sources of funding and modes of organisation, and highlighting similarities and differences between the religious traditions. It considers the involvement of religious actors in school-level education, as well as in international humanitarian relief and reconstruction, and addresses the claim that religious organisations have distinctive features that give them comparative advantages. Finally, the book reviews research on the roles of religious values and organisations in resisting or promoting social change, focusing on women’s movements, especially their campaigns for changes in family law, and the quest for social and legal recognition for sexual and gender minorities.

The book’s wide coverage of two subcontinents in the Global South and several important religious traditions will be of interest to researchers and students in the fields of sociology, international development, religious studies, anthropology and area studies, as well as to those engaged in policy and action who are looking to improve their understanding of the complex social, cultural, political and religious contexts in which they work.

part I|75 pages

Religions, societies and states

part II|119 pages

The social roles of religious organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

chapter 5|29 pages

Christian organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Traditional and new patterns of social engagement

chapter 7|32 pages

Religious organisations as education providers

Alternatives to or allies of governments?

part III|3 pages

Religious values and organisations

chapter 8|33 pages

Religious involvement in women's movements

The quest for changes in family law

chapter 10|14 pages