Abstract: Gender equality and women’s empowerment has become a cornerstone for successful development. Religious teachings and practices, like ‘traditional culture’, are often viewed as contributing to gender inequality and oppression. The increased engagement by donor agencies with religious organisations prompts questions about how religion, gender and development intersect in particular places, and the implications this intersection has for the transnational ‘gender agenda’ of development agencies. This article focuses on the dialogue about gender in the Papua New Guinea Church Partnership Program. Analysing the struggles taking place, it argues that the processes that shaped local Christianities are also at work in the churches’ translations of the ‘gender agenda’. These churches are gradually emerging as agents for gender justice as they develop their own approaches to gender work that support the churches’ mission to ‘live the Gospel’ in their practice of holistic integral human development. However, to progress further, in recognising the necessity for men to lead the struggle for gender justice, the dialogue must focus on the personal transformation of men in relation to their understanding of masculinities and gendered power dynamics. From this foundation, structural and political change can be advanced.
Alvare, Bretton. 2014. Haile Selasse and the Gospel of Development: Hegemony and Faith-Based Development in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19(1): 126-147.
Abstract: This article explores the process by which faith-based nongovernmental organizations (FBOs) incorporate, reproduce, and contest hegemonic constructions of development as they attempt to bring the fruits of development to their local communities. The analysis focuses on the National Rastafari Organization (NRO) of Trinidad and Tobago—a small, grassroots FBO, whose leaders designed and implemented a localcommunity development program that, despite being modeled on the Rastafari principles contained in Haile Selassie’s “gospel of development,“ had more in common with the neoliberal national development program being promoted by the Trinidadian government than with the development programs typical of other formal Rastafari organizations in the wider Caribbean region. The NRO did not hold all of the themes, logics, or recommended practices of this gospel of development in the same regard. Instead, their immersion in hegemonic fields led them to seize on those aspects that resonated most with the state discourses of neoliberal participatory development in circulation at the time.
Abstract: The number of churches associated with Pentecostal Christianity has increased rapidly in El Salvador in the decades following the end of the civil war, and these organizations are gradually playing a role in shaping Salvadorans’ vision of the social good. This article examines a case in which the congregants of one rural Pentecostal church mobilize their neighbors and other nonchurch institutions to carry out community development initiatives. In particular, the article describes how the church emerged as a key public in the local development arena and, accordingly, became a site wherein previously segmented social networks in the community were bridged in novel ways. By documenting how change occurs incrementally and relationally at the level of local social networks, the discussion offers a better vantage point from which to assess the impact of the Pentecostal movement upon social life in rural El Salvador and elsewhere in Latin America.
Abstract: Faith in divine intervention affects the ethical and temporal orientations of a community of East African nuns managing a charity home in Central Uganda and leads them to make programmatic decisions that put them at odds with mainstream approaches in development and humanitarianism. By demonstrating that their resistance to long-term planning and audit practices is not the product of material privation or ignorance but, rather, a consciously developed orientation toward time and agency, I bring together concerns from the anthropology of religion and the anthropology of development. Further, by seeking to explain how the sisters come to hold their particular beliefs, I move beyond the elucidation of doctrine to show how mundane forms of practice are central to the formation of ethical subjectivity.
Abstract: This paper draws together emerging literature within Geography, and from across the broader social sciences, around contemporary mission and missionaries. It argues for the importance of recognising mission organisations and missionaries not just as historic relics, but as important, active, and geographically far ranging actors in the modern world. In mapping out the little work that has been conducted, three themes are addressed, missionary geopolitics; mission, welfare and development; and transnational migration, religion and cosmopolitanism. The article highlights the potential contributions that a (re)examination of missionary lives, beliefs and praxis can make to these disparate bodies of literature, and calls for further research in these directions within geographical scholarship.
Publisher’s description: The practice and discipline of development was founded on the belief that religion was not important to development processes. As societies developed and modernised, it was assumed that they would also undergo a process of secularisation. However, the prominence of religion in many countries and its effects on people’s social, political and economic activities calls this assumption into question. Pentecostal Christianity has spread rapidly throughout Africa since the 1980s and has been a major force for change. This book explains why and shows how Pentecostalism articulates with local level development processes. As well as exploring the internal model of ‘development’ which drives Pentecostal organisations, contributors compare Pentecostal churches and secular NGOs as different types of contemporary development agents and discern the different ways in which they bring about change. At the heart of this book, then, is an exploration of processes of individual and social transformation, and their relevance to understandings of the successes and failures of development.
Han, Ju Hi Judy (2011) ‘“If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat”: Evangelizing Development in Africa.’ In New Millennium South Korea: Neoliberal Capital and Transnational Movements, ed. Jesook Song. London: Routledge.
Excerpt: Work or else starve – these unkind words were uttered partly out of frustration. Two South Korean Christian missionaries from Global Mission Frontier (GMF) were presenting a week-long economic development seminar to approximately 30 local government officials and municipal employees crowded inside a modest hotel room in Mwanza, Tanzania. The seminar leader, Deacon Shin, had begun by introducing himself as hailing from the prosperous land of Samsung and the LG Group (two of the world’s biggest conglomerates) but he failed to impress – the participants had never heard of these corporate brands. “How about Hyndai?” Deacon Shin asked in disbelief. “You must surely have seen all the Hyundai advertising during the World Cup?” Apparently not. Deacon Shin shook his head in dismay, and explained that there are large, powerful companies from Korea, and that their very success stands as proof of the miracle of Korean economic development . . . It was then that Deacon Shin suddenly instructed everyone to stand up and stretch – and shout after him, “You don’t work, you don’t eat!” When some chuckled, he said firmly, “This is in the Bible!” and pointed to the Bible in his hand. Indeed, there it was in Second Thessalonians of the New Testament: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” He explained that this verse captured the key to Korea’s economic miracle, and rallied the class in fist-pumping chants for several minutes: “No work, no eat! No work, no eat!”
Abstract: Anthropologists in Africa used to have an ambivalent relationship with missionary Christianity and international development work. Being active in the same areas but with different intentions reinforced mutual stereotypes and added to the uneasiness. This seems to be changing now. Christianity has passed its missionary stage and is now an African religion, interesting to study for anthropologists and `applied anthropology’ allows anthropologists to make their discipline more meaningful and relevant to today’s world. The involvement of medical anthropologists in health development is a case in point.