IUAES logoIUAES

Home - Congresses & Inter-Congresses - IUAES2013 Panels

IUAES 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds. 5-10 August 2013.

IUAES 2013 photo banner

IUAES2013 HOME | TRACKS & PANELS | PLENARIES | VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY | TIMETABLE


Evolving humanity, emerging worlds

Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013

(PE33)

Indigenous charity, philanthropy and development

Location University Place 4.210
Date and Start Time 09 Aug, 2013 at 09:00

Convenor

Tom Widger (Durham University) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel explores charity and philanthropy in the developing world, with a focus on Islam. Amongst other questions the panels asks: What role do Islamic and other forms of religious charity play in development and how do they intersect with moralities of capitalism around the world?

Long Abstract

Interest in the role of international philanthropic foundations in development has grown in recent years. But as yet, there has been little interest in the developmental role of indigenous philanthropists and charitable institutions in the developing world. Yet local charities and philanthropists are increasingly being recognised as making - and likely to make - significant contributions to development in the coming decades. As well as posing important questions regarding the nature and future of development and global capitalism, studies of indigenous philanthropy also intersect with classic problems in the anthropology of religion, the person, the economy, and the gift, amongst others. This panel invites ethnographically-informed papers that seek to understand the processes which give rise to indigenous forms of charity, of how the philanthropic impulse is manifest, and the role that indigenous philanthropy plays and can play in the development process.

Chair: Professor John Clammer

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Desiring the other's salvation: Islamic philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and the poor in Indonesia.

Author: Kostas Retsikas (SOAS)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

The paper inquires into the actualisation of the religious desire to lift others out of poverty through the promotion of entrepreneurial values and the cultivation of entrepreneurial capacities amongst the poor in Indonesia.

Long Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic material from ongoing research on Islamic charities in Java, Indonesia, the paper focuses on the intersections of religion, poverty alleviation efforts, and the economy in general. More specifically, it inquires into the actualisation of the religious desire to lift others out of poverty through the promotion of entrepreneurial values and the cultivation of entrepreneurial capacities amongst the poor. In Indonesia, programmes of poverty alleviation are closely associated with improving access to health, education, and micro-credit facilities with the aim of enhancing the quality of human resources available in the country. Within the context of the Islamic charitable sector, such programmes are also geared towards deepening the understanding of Islam amongst the deserving poor and intensifying its everyday practice. As recipients of alms, the poor are called upon to develop themselves more fully as Muslims and to improve their precarious economic position by embracing modern entrepreneurship and the values of commerce. Such a call is made with the explicit hope that the poor would be able not only to attain prosperity in the here-and-now but also achieve salvation in the hereafter.

When Neoliberalism meets Islamic Charity: Almsgiving amidst India's Deregulation

Author: Christopher Taylor (Boston University)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

Islamic charity is an ancient ritual tradition which serves new modern functions of local development and social mobility in north India. This paper, based on current fieldwork, invites reconsideration of socioeconomic development as neither solely government-led nor a uniquely secular enterprise.

Long Abstract

This paper describes local Islamic social welfare associations operating in north India, which gather and redistribute religious alms and charitable donations. Illustrating the inadequacy of government socioeconomic development schemes and the prevalence of community-based, religious charitable activities, this study sheds light on the crucial role of pious citizens in 21st-century liberalizing economies. Socially conscious Muslims also invite reconsideration of "liberal" and "conservative" notions of contemporary Islamic piety.

India's much-lauded economic growth rate has been dogged by sharp disparity between rich and poor Indians, which grows as fast as the liberalizing economy. As economic deregulation progressed through 1990s, social regulation increased, in the form of "reservations" (affirmative action) that encompass low-caste Hindu groups. Muslims and other religious minorities, however, have been legislatively excluded from reservations, resulting in shrill calls for aid from Muslim elites and voices clamoring for Muslim reservations. This study examines Islamic charities focused on education and development rather than mere aid, from the perspective of leaders and donors. This study does not evaluate charity according to any redistribution that might occur, but instead analyzes narratives which circulate with the money. Amidst the rough-and-tumble of passionate fundraising appeals, alms-seeking, tithing (e.g. zakat-calculation), government legislating, and political interest lobbying by Muslims, it is not only cash funds that change hands but also ideas and ideologies. The researcher engaged in volunteer observation within Islamic charities and in informal religious study of Islamic theology and jurisprudence in madrasas (religious schools) during 18 months of fieldwork through 2012-2013 in the northern Indian city of Lucknow.

Charity, philanthropy and development in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Authors: Tom Widger (Durham University)  email
Filippo Osella (University of Sussex)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper explores how different kinds of charitable and philanthropic giving - from forms of family support through religious charity to CSR - are transforming popular concepts of development and its practice in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Long Abstract

This paper explores how different kinds of charitable and philanthropic giving - from forms of family support through religious charity to CSR - are transforming popular concepts of development and its practice in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Drawing from ethnographic research conducted in the city's Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian communities, the paper examines how 'local' and 'global,' 'traditional' and 'modern,' ideas of 'donor' and 'recipient' are deriving from and manifesting new ways of understanding relationships between givers and receivers and the kinds of personhood and morality they imply.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Sponsors

Wenner-Gren Visit Manchester ASA RAI Manchester University