Spirituality: a development taboo

Spirituality is central to many of the daily decisions people in the 'South' make about their own and their community' s development, including that of whether or not to participate in risky but potentially beneficial social action. Despite its importance, development literature and development practices have systematically avoided the topic of spirituality. This avoidance results in inferior research and less effective programmes and ultimately fails to provide participants with opportunities to reflect on how their development and their spirituality will and should shape each other. The author offers some possible explanations for the avoidance and suggests ways in which to address spirituality in development theory and practice. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development and Culture.