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Re-evaluating value in faith-based social action

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This article reports on a project to explore the application of a mainstream community evaluation tool in faith-based settings. The project made two key findings. The first concerns a distinction between instrumental evaluative processes on the one hand and values-based ones on the other, in which these faith-based settings emphasised evaluation that is reflective in ways that connect to deep solidarity and relationships, seen as rooted in their faith. The second concerns the question of whether the faith dimension adds anything distinctive, and whether it ought to be visible. This potentially challenges wider sociological debates about a public sphere in which faith is discussed only in terms of what Habermas calls 'public reasons' (ie, non-religious terms). The article concludes that evaluation in faith-based settings is valued when it is connected to reflection, and the process could be used to make visible the faith dimension in pursuit of transparency and accountability.
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Keywords: EVALUATION; FAITH-BASED; PUBLIC SPHERE; SECULAR

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: July, 2017

This article was made available online on June 23, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Re-evaluating value in faith-based social action".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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