Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-4-2020


Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was a twentieth century socio-political and religious reformer whose activities impacted millions of lives, especially among India’s Dalit community. This article illustrates his lifework and its lessons for social work scholarship on religion. Using the examples of Ambedkar and Navayana Buddhism, I discuss three sources of complexity for social work scholarship on religion: 1) religion may function as both oppressive and emancipatory; 2) religion is malleable, not monolithic; and 3) religion is situated in and interactive with contexts. I conclude with suggestions for how social work scholarship on religion may account for complexity.


This is an original manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought on 04 Jul 2020, available online:



Link to Article at Publisher Website