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Title: Embedding a Transnational Environmental Faith-Based Organisation: Opportunities and Obstacles in Singapore
Keywords: Geographies of Religion, Faith-Based Organisation, Embeddedness, Transnationalism, Singapore, Environment
Issue Date: 14-Sep-2010
Citation: LEE PEI YUN DEBORAH (2010-09-14). Embedding a Transnational Environmental Faith-Based Organisation: Opportunities and Obstacles in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: There has been a long-acknowledged potential for religion to play a significant role in shaping religious adherents? environmental action as well as a recent emergence of interest in how religions can be engaged to solve environmental problems. Given that environmental problems are global in nature, for example climate change, transnational action is required. Transnational religious networks that are both extensive in scope and grounded in the everyday lives of religious adherents have the potential to effect change. Transnational environmental faith-based organisations (FBOs) are thus gaining increasing importance. In this thesis, I examine the case of one particular transnational environmental FBO (`Creation-Carers?) as it seeks to establish a national movement in a new country ? Singapore. Through an examination of network, societal and territorial embeddedness, this thesis broadly seeks to understand the opportunities and obstacles that this transnational environmental FBO faces. My research is focused around three main objectives: first, how partnerships are created and the power relations involved as a transnational environmental FBO seeks out local partners when establishing operations in a new locale. Specifically, I examine the hitherto largely neglected role of FBO staff and the strategies they employ to enact local forms of the transnational organisation. I argue that transnational actors require social capital as this reduces the need for spatial proximity to build trust, an important consideration for transnational organisations where actors may have little face-to-face contact. Moreover, such actors require effective social capital ? that which can be converted into other forms of capital ? so as to ensure the long-term viability of projects. My second objective is to understand how the (religious) identities of transnational actors are accepted, negotiated and resisted by local actors and the implications of such transnational-local interactions for the embedding process. I argue that the transnational environmental FBO is construed as an `outsider? ? a `Western? organisation that has a `foreign? theology ? due to the identities of its main actors. My final objective is to study how processes in the locality (such as the clustering of religious organisations and the role of secular state policies) influence the development of a transnational organisation?s activities. I argue that although locating within a cluster of Christian organisations may present opportunities for cooperation, it may not be always beneficial for the transnational environmental FBO as there is competition for scarce resources. Additionally, in Singapore, the ambit that religious organisations are allowed to operate within poses a significant challenge for the organisation as the hybrid nature of its activities ? religious environmentalism ? is deemed to transgress the state-imposed boundary.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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