Den osynliga religionen Analys av policy för svensk utvecklingspolitik 2010–2014
Sammanfattning: Sweden boasts a rich history of cooperating with civil organisations in advancing international development cooperation with high rates of support from its citizens. Religious institutions are an active component of this government-civil society cooperation. In fact, the early beginnings of Sweden’s development work were closely intertwined with Christian mission enterprises, especially in the areas of education and health ministries. This background circumstance has led to an increasing unease about the interface between the secular exercise of public authority and religious groups’ vested interests. This dissertation aims to explore Swedish development cooperation policies for the presence of religion and for the evaluation of religion’s impact. It is theoretically placed within the sociological shift that emphasizes the visibility of religion, rather than secularising of religion. The dissertation analyses nine government development cooperation policies plus additional documents that further explore policy issues. While using quantitative and qualitative content analysis, the study searches for explicit references to: 1) religious agency, 2) religious identity, 3) religious rights as part of human rights, and 4) religious ideas. The results indicate that religion, in the four analysed categories, tends to be poorly represented, non-existent or anonymous under the generic term ‘civil society’. Evaluation of religion’s impact varies according to policy area, with the overall conclusion that Swedish development cooperation has an ambivalent relationship with religion. The dissertation further analyses the specific policy areas of civil society, economic growth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. It finds higher sensitivity to religious components in parts. It compares results with those of other studies that have focused on religion in the selected areas. The dissertation concludes that Swedish development cooperation needs to develop a higher sensitivity to the religious aspects of development work. This will mean that the ‘secular’ and the ‘religious’ in development cooperation need further clarification from the theoretical premise of the new visibility of religion.
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