Publication Date

2008

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department

School for Social Work

Abstract

What happens when people have both a spiritual practice and are engaged in progressive social justice work? How does expressing or engaging in them separately or together affect themselves and the work that they do? This relational, fixed methods research looks at those who have both a spiritual practice and are engaged in progressive social justice work and at how expressing them together or separately effects their perception of themselves and the work that they do (both spiritually and as an activist). A survey, containing 40 statements using a Likert-type scale, eight questions collecting demographic information and several open ended questions, was created by this author. Data showing significant differences among 187 respondents depending on how they express their spiritual practice and social justice work was found and compared. The findings show that those who express their spiritual practices and social justice work together report significant benefits in their progressive social justice work, their spiritual practice and their self-perception due to expressing their justice work together with their spiritual practice. Those who express their justice work and spiritual practices separately have the strongest reactions to negative statements about keeping their justice work and spiritual practices separate. However, they tend to agree with those who express theirs together that expressing them together has greater benefits, fewer negatives and that there are few positive consequences to expressing their justice work and spiritual practice separately. Implications for individuals, communities and organizations who are integrating their spiritual practices and progressive social justice work are also discussed.

Comments

Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iii, 90 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 76-78)