Contesting the boundaries of religion in social mobilization

Joe Devine, Graham Brown, Severine Deneulin

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This paper seeks to contribute to an understanding of the dynamics of religion in social mobilization. It argues that existing approaches to the study of the role of religion in social mobilization have been insufficiently nuanced and have failed to probe the multiple and often contradictory influences that religion can have on mobilization channels. On the basis of three qualitative case studies from Malaysia, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, we identify three key factors of religion that can catalyse social mobilization: theological resources, religious spaces, and the interaction of both with the wider context. This leads us to conclude that the boundaries of the ‘religious’ dimension of social mobilization are fluid, and that the religious element of social mobilization can never be disentangled from its social and political context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-47
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of South Asian Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Religion, social mobilization, theology, politics


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