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About us Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies Research Institutes Centre Religion, Health and Wellbeing Research Themes

Health and religious diversity

Health and religious diversity

Brenda Bartelink and Kim Knibbe

What is health? What is wellbeing? And how can you work on these themes? In a plural, complex society like the Netherlands, the variety of answers to these questions is potentially huge. A lot of people are working on their wellbeing from a religious or spiritual perspective. Actors in the public healthcare and medical science fields often ignore or problematize these practices, or are more interested in measuring their effects. We take an anthropological and social approach to studying how people marry their health issues with their religious background (i.e. lived experience of religion), and the dynamics that develop in contact with other actors. We are less interested in the question of ‘what works’ in the biomedical sense, preferring to focus on: how do different perspectives and practices impact on each other? Which intentional or unintentional consequences does this have in terms of including and excluding certain sections of public healthcare? Our methods are generally qualitative: ethnographic research, historical research and critical frame analysis.

What type of expertise can the cluster supply, and who is it aimed at?

We can be an interesting partner in research projects in the field of health, in which an understanding of religious backgrounds, particularly lived experience of religion, is important. Although most of our methods are qualitative, we can also provide input for developing quantitative research in this field.

In terms of teaching, we can provide expertise in the fields of health and religious and cultural diversity.

Projects and partners

Sexuality, Religion and Secularism. Cultural encounters in the African Diaspora in the Netherlands. Directed by Kim Knibbe and Rachel Spronk (UvA)

Last modified:05 December 2018 12.47 p.m.
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