THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL SERVICE:
EMERGING DEMOCRATIC ALIGNMENT OR FALSE PROMISE
Social work is currently having a renaissance of spirituality, though the author suggests social work's interest to date has primarily been restricted to personal transformation/empowerment constructs with an emphasis on the individual self. The same level of emphasis placed on recognizing spirituality's place in private and interpersonal dynamics of human life has not simultaneously occurred within the broader social context of contemporary society, one that is generally interested in understanding and ameliorating issues reflecting competing normative values. This gap leaves us with questions regarding what alternative forms of social arrangement are being promoted and the type of society being envisioned under this renaissance.
This preliminary investigation, based on a review of the literature, will shed some light on this negligent area of social work. Using both historic and current reference, the author will focus on religion's role in democratic development. To help illustrate this, two alternative models of social movements found within North American Christian religion will be developed.
Colin Bonnycastle is Assistant Professor and Director of the Faculty of Social Work at Thompson, University of Manitoba. His current research interests are in the areas of homelessness, male violence, and the emerging patterns of democratic development in Canadian society. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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