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Physical religious spaces in the lives of Rajasthani village women: ethnographic study and practice of religion in development

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This article explores the positive contribution a focus on physical religious spaces makes to development practice. By taking an ethnographic approach in studying religious spaces it is possible for practitioners of development to understand the values and beliefs of adherents, which can help them forge closer, more empathetic relationships with local people. This approach is particularly useful in listening to the experiences of marginalized groups whose views are more quietly voiced. An example is given of a group of Hindu women who shared stories of domestic violence within a ritual space they created for this purpose. A faith‐based development organization offered the women a secure environment to perform this ritual. This same faith‐based development organization used religious spaces in their daily practice as sites for communication with local communities and personal reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Human Development and Capabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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