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On a long neglected player: The religious dimension in poverty alleviation. The example of the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel’ in Africa


Schliesser, Christine (2014). On a long neglected player: The religious dimension in poverty alleviation. The example of the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel’ in Africa. Exchange, 43(4):339-359.

Abstract

Much of poverty alleviation theory and practice fails to sufficiently consider the following crucial factor: the religious dimension. This paper elaborates this thesis by focusing on the African context and the valuable resources African religious communities and movements can provide in the struggle against poverty. One particularly influential streak of present-time African religiousness serves as a case study: the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel’ as part of Pentecostal Christianity. The author first argues for the continuing formative influence of religion on African conceptions of self, other, and world. Secondly, she provides a critical assessment of the impact of Pentecostalism and the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ on poverty alleviation. In comparison with secular ngos, Pentecostal churches emerge as the more effective agents of change. A third part situates the insights gained into a wider perspective, seeking ways to integrate the religious factor into a more holistic conception of and engagement against poverty.

Much of poverty alleviation theory and practice fails to sufficiently consider the following crucial factor: the religious dimension. This paper elaborates this thesis by focusing on the African context and the valuable resources African religious communities and movements can provide in the struggle against poverty. One particularly influential streak of present-time African religiousness serves as a case study: the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel’ as part of Pentecostal Christianity. The author first argues for the continuing formative influence of religion on African conceptions of self, other, and world. Secondly, she provides a critical assessment of the impact of Pentecostalism and the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ on poverty alleviation. In comparison with secular ngos, Pentecostal churches emerge as the more effective agents of change. A third part situates the insights gained into a wider perspective, seeking ways to integrate the religious factor into a more holistic conception of and engagement against poverty.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Prosperity Gospel; African traditional religions; African Christianity; ngos; development; Pentecostalism; poverty alleviation
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:25 Feb 2015 11:55
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:03
Publisher:Brill Academic Publishers
ISSN:0166-2740
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/1572543X-12341336
Official URL:http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/1572543x-12341336?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-108257

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