Sacred places and sustainable development
journal contributionposted on 2018-10-01, 00:00 authored by Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff, Matthew ClarkeMatthew Clarke
Religious beliefs are not only profound, some of them are also pervasive, persistent and persuasive. It follows that the cultural and religious experiences of communities often play a central role in determining their worldviews and the ways in which they understand their own circumstances. These worldviews, it follows, can thereby assist in providing narratives for community development in places that have particular meaning to these communities and individuals within them, and thereby enhance the long-term success of such initiatives. One often-overlooked aspect in research up until recently is the role that these often sacred places can play in sustainable development. This paper undertakes a study of development spaces situated in sacred places, in this case of a women’s Buddhist monastery on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, devoted to gender equity. It begins with an overview of research pertaining to religion and development, religion in contemporary societies, and sacred places, and concludes with an analysis of the case study data that recognizes the need to consider the significance of sacred places, and narratives attached to them, in sustainable community development.