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Title: Faith, spirituality and social work education : deliberating guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith movements
Author: Pandya, Samta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 1318
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis presents a reflection on a series of published papers which attempt to explore, in the systematic way, the interface between guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith movements, Indic spirituality and social work through conceptual and empirical considerations. The context of guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith movements, and their spirituality, has been explored through a meta-analysis, followed by qualitative studies of five contemporary guru-led movements and their distinctive styles of seva or social service – “mission”-isation; syncretism, lived religion and organised charity; millenarianism, post-apocalyptic vision and social service; humanity, divinity and service; and austerity, nationalism and service. This is followed by a study of followers/adherents who participate in social services of these guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith-movements and beneficiaries, through five fairly large datasets. The first dataset is on adherents of these movements and what motivates them to join, serve and gain. The second dataset is on followers of a particular new movement and how they derive their sense of well-being from the same. The third dataset is on beneficiaries of social initiatives of these movements and organisations. The fourth dataset is beneficiaries of a particular spiritual programme of the Art of Living Foundation called the Sudarshan Kriya. The fifth dataset is on a similar spiritual programme for adolescents and how it positively influences them. Theoretically it can be said that the adherents and beneficiaries together form a habitus of these movements. I finally discuss, through two published works in social work journals, as to how a specific spiritual technique of a guru movement and spirituality in general is perceived as having critical bearings for the social work discipline in the contemporary Indian and South Asian contexts. The structure of the thesis illustrates the progressive nature of the research and demonstrates how the component parts come together to form a cumulative and coherent case. The collection of works argues the following contentions, to make critical contributions to the domain knowledge of guru-led movements, faith, spirituality and social work. Guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith movements use social service as a legitimising trope. Guru-led and Hindu-inspired faith movements have implicit and explicit spiritual techniques, which accompany the social service/work package. Followers and beneficiaries of these movements gain materially and spiritually, which keeps them motivated to be aligned. This in turn contributes to the fellowship of guru-led movements. For the social work discipline, the phenomenon of guru-led movements is an important aspect to be paid attention to. Their social service engagements call for a need for working in or with guru-led movements as a part of social work practice horizon. With this focus, in the published works, implications for the discipline of social work are drawn out and made explicit. The power of a cumulative study using a range of empirical tools is shown.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare