People of faith and sustainable development goals : influencing towards a just, peaceful and sustainable world
Jamil, N. (2019). People of faith and sustainable development goals : influencing towards a just, peaceful and sustainable world (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12832
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12832
The current model of global development driven by Western neoliberal ideology has been considered indispensable to ensure economic growth, as well as national and individual wealth and wellbeing but at the same time, critics claim that people and the environment suffer wherever this form of development is present. This creates a paradox. Religious and spiritual communities express their concerns. They scrutinise this corporate-led form of global development that seems to further self-serving interests against the common good. It stands in stark contrast with the ideals and teachings that are at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions of the world and the universal values that promote peace, justice, and harmony. Bauman and Donskis (2013) suggest keeping an eye on that which is disturbing, an “ethical gaze” (p.9) on the dominant forms of market-driven global development based on neoliberal capitalist ideology. Drawing on the work of Seo and Creed (2002), my research analysed the contradictions and paradoxes in the narrative of the western neoliberal model of global development. The 2015 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference endorsed a set of seventeen goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the light of these calls and to hold my ‘ethical gaze’, I bring fresh insights from the voices the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR), as one of the voices that increasingly associate the prevailing form of globalisation with the observable degradation in human and planetary wellbeing, in support of the UN SDGs. The primary purpose of my research is to illuminate the ways that people of faith (as represented by PoWR), through their convictions and practices of faith, progress their intention to influence aspects of global justice and environmental responsibility as promoted by the SDGs. My research is based on a qualitative research approach in accordance with an interpretative paradigm. I analysed the speeches and talks by influential faith leaders, scholars and activists at the 2015 PoWR gathering who presented their concerns and aspirations for peace, justice, and environmental sustainability on the critical issues of climate change, income inequality, and war, hate, and violence. Using Braun and Clarke's (2006) thematic analysis and Aristotle’s rhetorical analysis of persuasive appeals, my inquiry explores the range of views on the causes of and the remedies for human and environmental degradation. Several themes were identified regarding the causes of such degradation. The remedies proposed are the collective commitments of all to take radical action and to act upon the values of religious and spiritual traditions as outlined in the Principles of Global Ethic derived from diverse religious and spiritual traditions. This research extends the understanding of both the theory of institutional logics and rhetorical discourse for change. It also holds an ethical gaze on neoliberal discourses. Most importantly, this research is relevant to and has implications for international organisations such as the United Nations, UN Global Compact, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and society. The insights generated open up possibilities for future research.
The University of Waikato
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