SUAREZ Ana Lourdes
congresos y reuniones científicas
The religious presence in Buenos Aires slums, and its role in raising aspirations and agency
Conferencia; Capabilities on the Move: Mobility and Aspirations; 2015
Institución organizadora:
Human Development and Capability Approach Association y la Universidad de Georgetown
The role of religion in society is currently being highly discussed. Since the secularization theory, which in its most radical formulation, argued that religion would gradually disappear from the public sphere, different insights are proving helpful to highlight its role. The capability approach has interesting theoretical tools that can help deepen into why and how religion can pay a ?positive? role. The aim of this paper is to analyze the relationship between religion and the raising of both agency and aspirations among poor people. The main question is: Does religion enlarge poor people´s horizons and opens up a new sphere of possibilities and strength for action? How does it do it? In the first part of the paper I offer a theoretical discussion linking the concept of popular religiosity as it is being addressed in Latin America from social and religious studies perspectives, with the capability approach in order to enrich the concept highlighting its relations with agency and wellbeing. The second part of the paper addresses the religious presence in Buenos Aires slums analyzing dimensions of poor peoples´ religious beliefs and practices. In the third part it attempts to understand the religious and social work of catholic nuns that have chosen to live among these slum residents: the poorest of the city. The main argument of the paper is that religion plays a large role in shaping poor people´s agency by helping support their cosmologic and holistic cultural matrix from which they feed a positive spiritually that has social impact.