This book is a quick and accessible reference guide to the key concepts that social work students and professionals need to understand to be effective. The authors place practice at the center of the text, and include a host of case examples to bring the concepts to life.
Examining the essential topics of the social work curriculum, the concepts covered relate to practice, theory, policy and personal challenges. Further reading is included in each entry, so that the reader can explore what they have learned in more detail.
This book will be an invaluable resource for social work students during their studies and on their practice placement. It will also be useful for qualified social workers, who want to continue their professional education.
Chapter 45: Religion and Belief
Religion and Belief
Anyone seeking universally accepted definitions of ‘religion’ or ‘belief faces considerable challenges, which are heightened when individualised and occasional expressions of religious feeling and spirituality are included (see Davie, 2007). However, [Page 204]a pragmatic and phenomenological/interpretive approach such as that adopted by Beckford (1992, 2001) seems appropriate in the context of social work. This sees ‘religion’ and ‘belief’ as being primarily what individual believers or communities say they are and avoids imposing any narrow ‘substantive’ or ‘functionalist’ definitions (see Hunt, 2005). Such definitions, inevitably, result in the boundaries of meanings becoming varied, inconsistent and changeable, but this serves to reflect experience in the real world. It also ensures that what service users see as their ‘religion’ or their ‘beliefs’, together with ...