Social work

experience and methods

Hope in the perspective of theological essentialism and social constructionism: convicts experiences of hope in the context of christian conversion

Review

In this article by empoying a literature review and empirical qualitative research, which is carried out with the convicts in the penitentiary, methods there is a focus on the analysis of imprisoned people's experiences of hope after the discovery of God – after religious conversion. The objective of this paper is to reveal the significance of conversion and faith to people who are in prison as well as to show the relations of discovered faith in God with imprisoned people's experiences of hope. I also try to reveal a faith-based model of social work with the imprisoned based on relationship with God, which generates prisoners' motivation of reintegration into society. The research has revealed that the experience of imprisonment and subsequent existential crisis can become significant factors, which encourage the convicts to religious conversion and motivate them to experience a change in their personal lives, refusing delinquent behaviour and deciding to live according to Christian morality.
In the article it is written about the logic of a qualitative research – Participatory Action Research, which is based on the principles of social involvement, empowerment and change, when the research participants, the convicts themselves, become active characters who solve their own social problems. Participatory Action Research, increasing the research participants/convicts' consciousness, makes an opportunity for them to generate the ideas of social change in a team and create together the strategy which could improve their situation. This qualitative research was based on the sociological principle Insider's View, which reveals the perspective of a convicted person who experiences social stigma and allows us to know his subjective experience. Therefore, such a research, focused on human experience recognition, is based on social constructionism ontology and phenomenological episthemology. The research validity in order to guarantee the reliability of the conclusions has been achieved by using member checking, i.e. involving informants as active participants into the analysis of the obtained data and the process of creating research results.

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