Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
This study examines the contribution and impacts of the social service works done by nuns in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, and in Perú within the last five years. Specifically, it investigates the relationship between nuns as providers of social services and other providers such as the government. Drawing on existing literature on theories of secularization, and a close examination of the historical evolution of the British and Peruvian welfare state apparatuses, this study contextualizes the social service work of nuns in contemporaneous social, economic, and political circumstances. It finds that the population of nuns is on a steep decline, and that the contrasting government welfare histories of the UK and Perú have led to drastically different levels of welfare state development. Through analysis of original oral history interviews with nuns who work/ed in the UK in the 1950s/60s and Perú today, and analysis of supplementary statistics on government social spending in both contexts, this study hypothesizes that as the population of nuns dies out in Perú, the government will be ill prepared, in comparison to the capacity of the British government in the 1950s/1960s, to take over their services. The study concludes that, in Perú, this will result in a serious loss of crucial services for the vulnerable populations served by nuns.
Schust, Gabrielle Anna, "Who Will Do the Good Works?: The Troubling Case of Secularization and the Failure of the Welfare State in England and Perú" (2020). Honors Theses. 1319.
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