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Prison and Religion in the Global South (SSM)

Call for Papers: Prison and Religion in the Global South
Social Sciences and Missions

 The journal Social Sciences and Missions is now planning a special issue on Prison and Religion in the Global South.

Prisons build an important interface of social and religious concern. They are communities operating with limited connection to the outside world and with their own resilient communal life. Penal communities are often dominated by prison gangs. Yet there are aspects to communal life in prison that are outside of gangs’ control, among them an occasionally vibrant religious life independent of outside initiative. At the same time, religious groups of Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, or other provenience, and, to a smaller extent, non-religious NGOs play a crucial role in bridging the gap between prison community and outside world. They provide crucial services that mitigate the hardships of prisons. For some religious groups, prisons offer an excellent ground for religious propagation and recruiting of followers. They see religious renewal in prison as a particularly striking and publicly attractive form of demonstrating the power of faith in transforming people.

Most scholarly research on religious interaction with penal populations relate to North America or Europe. Focusing on religions and prisons in the Global South, this special issue invites contributions from social science and religious studies.

 Topics include but are not limited to

 –       Religious and missionary agents in prison: motives, goals, and interests

–       Religious propagation in penal contexts: strategies and methods

–      Independent or indigenous religion in the penal context and its interaction with missionary initiatives;

–       Religion, gang culture, and penal community life

–       Conversion, conversion narratives, and deconversion in the penal context

–       Religious ministry in prison and its effectiveness in rehabilitation

–       Faith and adjustment to prison life

–       Religion and prison administration: convergences and tensions

–       State administration of religious affairs in prison

–       Religion, penal politics, and human rights

–       Comparative approaches to religious ministry in different penal contexts of the Global South

–       Chaplains and volunteers in prison ministry

–       Religion and restorative justice

–       Religious influences on penal ideologies

–       Religion and the death penalty

–       New Religious Movements in prison


We invite contributions of original research with a maximum length of 8,000 words. We encourage interested contributors to first submit by email an abstract of around 100 words by April 30, 2018 in order for us to gain a preliminary understanding of your submission plans. Please send your abstract to the guest editor Tobias Brandner ( or or the journal’s editor Jayeel Cornelio ( You may also contact either one of them for further information and questions. Please take note of the submission guidelines that can be found on the journal’s website (

Submission deadline for the full paper: October 31, 2018

Jayeel Cornelio, PhD

Director, Development Studies Program (on leave)

Ateneo de Manila University
Visiting Professor
Divinity School of Chung Chi College
Chinese University of Hong Kong