Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism

Paperback | August 15, 2012

byMichael Barnett, Janice Stein

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The global humanitarian movement, which originated within Western religious organizations in the early nineteenth century, has been of most important forces in world politics in advancing both human rights and human welfare. While the religious groups that founded the movement originallyfocused on conversion, in time more secular concerns came to dominate. By the end of the nineteenth century, increasingly professionalized yet nominally religious organization shifted from reliance on the good book to the public health manual. Over the course of the twentieth century, thesecularization of humanitarianism only increased, and by the 1970s the movement's religious inspiration, generally speaking, was marginal to its agenda. However, beginning in the 1980s, religiously inspired humanitarian movements experienced a major revival, and today they are virtual equals oftheir secular brethren. From church-sponsored AIDS prevention campaigns in Africa to Muslim charity efforts in flood-stricken Pakistan to Hindu charities in India, religious groups have altered the character of the global humanitarian movement. Moreover, even secular groups now gesture toward religious inspiration in theirwork. Clearly, the broad, inexorable march toward secularism predicted by so many Westerners has halted, which is especially intriguing with regard to humanitarianism. Not only was it a highly secularized movement just forty years ago, but its principles were based on those we associate with"rational" modernity: cosmopolitan one-worldism and material (as opposed to spiritual) progress. How and why did this happen, and what does it mean for humanitarianism writ large? That is the question that the eminent scholars Michael Barnett and Janice Stein pose in Sacred Aid, and for answers theyhave gathered chapters from leading scholars that focus on the relationship between secularism and religion in contemporary humanitarianism throughout the developing world. Collectively, the chapters in this volume comprise an original and authoritative account of religion has reshaped the globalhumanitarian movement in recent times.

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The global humanitarian movement, which originated within Western religious organizations in the early nineteenth century, has been of most important forces in world politics in advancing both human rights and human welfare. While the religious groups that founded the movement originallyfocused on conversion, in time more secular conce...

Michael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at George Washington University. Janice Stein is Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Political Science and Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199916098

ISBN - 13:9780199916092

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Stephen Hopgood and Leslie Vinjamuri: Faith in Markets3. Jonathan Benthall: "Cultural proximity" and the Conjuncture of Islam with Modern Humanitarianism4. Ajaz Ahmed Khan: Religious Obligation or Altruistic Giving? Muslims and Charitable Donations5. Peter Walker, Dyan Mazurana, Amy Warren, George Scarlett, and Henry Louis: The Role of Spirituality in Humanitarian Crisis Survival and Recover6. Erica Bornstein: Religious Giving Outside the Law in New Delhi7. Bertrand Taithe: Pyrrhic Victories? French Catholic Missionaries, Modern Expertise and Secularizing Technologies8. Michael Barnett: Faith in the Machine? Humanitarianism in an Age of Bureaucratization9. Andrea Paras and Janice Gross Stein: Bridging the Sacred and the Profane in Humanitarian LifeNotesBibliographyAbout the ContributorsIndex