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Accepted Paper:

The World Health Organization and its ways to enact spirituality  

Author:

Rodrigo Toniol (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is an attempt to advance the understanding of the statements of the WHO regarding the category of spirituality and, at the same time, to reflect on the analytical force of providing visibility to the term in its capacity as a political device for population management.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is an attempt to advance the understanding of the statements of the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the category of spirituality and, at the same time, to reflect on the analytical force of providing visibility to the term in its capacity as a political device for population management. This text is an attempt to reduce this gap. To do so, I analyze the minutes, official texts, transcripts of speeches, resolutions, and reports, and I reflect about how spirituality was enacted in the institution and, mainly, how this category has been articulated with others, such as culture, religion, rights, and wellbeing. The chapter has two main sections. First, I explain some of the questions related to the analysis of “spirituality” in the social sciences of religion and justify why this text can contribute to such debate. Secondly, I dwell on the documents analyzed, presenting them from two axes of variation: the spirituality of Others and the spirituality of All. In the conclusion I outline a set of empirical consequences associated with the “officialization of spirituality” in the WHO. Also, I point to directions that new analytical investments about this topic could follow.

Panel Heal09
Spirituality and wellbeing: holism, integrality and health