A comparative study of the relation among religion, development, and population policy in three Muslim countries : Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/794082444

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  • This is an interdisciplinary study combining the areas of Sociology, Religious Studies, and Adult and Community Education. Drawing from these disciplines, an investigation was made into the religious and socio-economic variables of development and their relation to family planning policies in the Muslim world. The primary focus in this study was upon the Muslim countries of: United Arab Republic (Egypt), Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Two main hypotheses were designed after reviewing the literature regarding theories and variables in demography and development in order to investigate how religious traditionalism and socio-economic developmental factors affect whether a government's formal population policy is antinatal or pronatal. The first hypothesis is that religious traditionalism has an inverse relation to a formal antinatal population policy. And the second hypothesis is that the level of development has a direct relation to a formal antinatal population policy. From secondary data, the findings of this thesis are two fold. The first part of the conclusion reveals that the results of many of the indicators used to investigate the original hypotheses did not support the hypotheses. Thus, a revision of the operationalization of the concepts of religion and development were made in the second part of the conclusion which yielded a recasting and re-evaluation of the data collected. The latter discussion raised questions concerning variables used in standard research to measure Islamic traditionalism and levels of socio-economic development. The variables used in research by the First and Second World researchers to measure Islamic traditionalism are being rejected by several Muslim Third World writers as being incorrect and often ethnocentric. The many standard socio-economic development measurements are also questioned, for they too are often ethnocentric and are measurements of the economic system and not always of the results of that system in terms of the welfare of the ordinary person. From the recent writings of Muslim Third World writers concerning Islam and M.D. Morris' new book, Measuring the Conditions of the World's Poor: The Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI), in which he introduces a new measurement of "development" - the PQLI, a final analysis of this study is made. The final findings suggest that religion should be considered as a dependent variable to that society's secular forces. Development is believed to be an important factor affecting population policy, but is a concept which needs to be defined in terms of "societal development" and not as "economic development".
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