This research component builds on the work of the ESRC Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) research programme, 2002- 2007. This used a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and fieldwork in urban and rural sites in Peru, Ethiopia, Thailand and Bangladesh to explore the social and cultural construction of wellbeing.
The WeD approach identifies three interlinked dimensions of wellbeing: material, relational and subjective. The material typically comprises assets and living standards. The relational concerns social and personal relationships. The subjective concerns cultural values, ideologies and beliefs and also people's own perceptions of their situation. WeD views wellbeing as a process rather than a state or an outcome, and emphasises that what people understand by wellbeing is context-specific (http://www.welldev.org.uk) .
This research component uses this framework to explore how religion figures in the values and practices that make up people's understanding and experience of wellbeing in selected sites of Bangladesh and India.
Aims and objectives
To contribute to academic debates on the significance of religion to development and wellbeing
- To develop a replicable methodology for religion-sensitive wellbeing research
- To produce analysis that combines theory and empirical research which addresses the following specific research questions
- What is the significance of religious identity to the wellbeing outcomes of different population groups (by age, gender, and minority/majority status)?
- How does religious identity and sensibility inform people's actions and behaviour in everyday life?
- How are understandings of and the interpolation between religion, development and wellbeing changing over time?
The work is divided into two stages. The first stage, February-December 2007, built on WeD quantitative and qualitative work in two sites (one urban and one rural) in NW Bangladesh. Analysis of data on religion from the main WeD study was followed by detailed religion-focused in-depth research. From this was produced a pilot protocol for the study of religion, wellbeing and development in India, which can then be adapted for use in other countries. The Bath-based researchers worked with WeD's Bangladeshi partner (Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies).
The second stage (late 2007-2009) is located in Orissa and Punjab, India. The pilot protocol was extended to include a streamlined version of the main WeD survey and quality of life work. The survey was completed in December 2008. The final qualitative phase of the research ends in July 2009. Field research collaboration was with Renaissance (Orissa) and Parivartan ( Punjab).
Dr Joe Devine , Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath
Dr Sarah White , Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath
Country team leaders:
- Bangladesh - Dr Zulfiqar Ali, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies,
- India - Kultar Singh, Parivartan, New Delhi; Senior Qualitative Researcher Shreya Jha
Working Paper 32 (2009) Beyond the Paradox: Religion, Family and Modernity in Contemporary Bangladesh (PDF 131KB) Sarah White
Working Paper 36 (2009) Domains of Contestation: Women's Empowerment and Islam in Bangladesh (PDF 417KB) Sarah White
Working Paper 40 (2009) Religion, Politics and the Everyday Moral Order in Bangladesh (PDF 300KB) Joe Devine and Sarah White
Working Paper 54 (2011) Religion, development and wellbeing in India (PDF 429KB)Sarah C White, Joe Devine, Shreya Jha