Not by Faith Alone: Social Services, Social Justice, and Faith-Based Organizations in the United States

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9780739146590: Not by Faith Alone: Social Services, Social Justice, and Faith-Based Organizations in the United States
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This edited collection provides an in-depth ethnographic study of faith-based development organizations in the United States, shining a much needed critical light onto these organizations and their role in the United States by exploring the varied ways that faith-based organizations attempt to mend the fissures and mitigate the effects of neoliberal capitalism, poverty, and the social service sector on the poor and powerless. In doing so, Not by Faith Alone generates provocative and sophisticated analyses-grounded in empirical case studies-of such topics as the meaning of "faith-based" development, evaluations of faith-based versus secular approaches, the influence of faith-orientation on program formulation and delivery, and examinations of faith-based organizations' impacts on structural inequality and poverty alleviation. Taken together, the chapters in this volume demonstrate the vital importance of ethnography for understanding the particular role of faith-based agencies in development. The contributors argue for an understanding of faith-based development that moves beyond either dismissing or uncritically supporting faith-based initiatives. Instead, contributors demonstrate the importance of grounded analysis of the specific discourses, practices, and beliefs that imbue faith-based development with such power and reveal both the promise and the limitations of this particular vehicle of service delivery.

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Various authors from diverse disciplines who have studied US faith-based organizations that serve as alternate opportunities for public care have written these in-depth ethnographic studies. Twelve articles cover different faith-based organizations that strive to help their communities by offering aid in the areas that they deem most needy. For example, the organization in Brownsville, Texas, that established a settlement house in 1953 has today grown into a compound that offers a multiplicity of services ranging from employment to alcoholism treatment. A mosque located in a Hispanic Latino neighborhood in California operates a free health clinic open to all. Although faith-based organizations striving to serve the indigent population are not new to the US (the Salvation Army has existed since 1865), the 2001 Bush White House initiatives opened the doors to more organizations by allowing groups to apply for funding without having to jump through the hoops of nonprofit organizations. A well-written and edited book that is a great resource for students, social scientists, and faith-based organizations. Summing Up: Highly recommended.--Choice "CHOICE "

Any person who wants to understand how faith-based organizations provide care for needy people in America must read this book. Based on a large set of case studies written by authors from various disciplines, Not by Faith Alone presents the full picture of how faith-based organizations act as a substitute for public care in America. The editors provide us with an insightful introduction that helps to understand the dynamics of local care by organizations of various faith traditions.--Ram A. Cnaan, University of Pennsylvania

Not by Faith Alone demonstrates that faith-based organizations (FBOs) play a major role in contemporary American life, from California to New England and from the Dakotas to the Texas border. The authors address a broad range of significant and controversial social and economic issues--community services, community development, education, homelessness assistance, refugee services, and drug addiction/rehabilitation programs. The volume's chapters emphasize an anthropological and ethnographic approach to FBOs while showing awareness of the contributions from other disciplines. Especially valuable is the editors' introduction, in which they offer an excellent history of 'faithful service' in America in light of several typologies for understanding the diversity of FBOs in the United States and abroad. This volume will be of great value to scholars and to practitioners and will serve as a landmark collection for appreciating the important role of faith-based organizations in American society.--Robert V. Kemper, Southern Methodist University

About the Author:

Julie Adkins is adjunct faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas at Arlington. Laurie Occhipinti is assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, Geography, and Earth Sciences at Clarion University. Tara Hefferan is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Central Michigan University.

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