The churches and the development debate : the promise of a fourth generation approach

Swart, Ignatius,1965- (2000-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to think anew about the involvement of the Christian churches in strategic development. The author undertook such an exercise in an abstract and general manner, not by undertaking specific case studies, but by applying various development and social sciences debates to come to a new understanding of the churches' meaningful participation in the broad area of development. The notion of the churches as 'idea' and 'value' institutions in the field of development was particularly developed. The study found its critical point of departure in the ecumenical theological debate on development over the last four decades. The first three chapters show how the charity-development juxtaposition in ecumenical development discourse problematises and frames the historical and actual participation of the churches in development. It is indicated that this discourse poses a critical theoretical and ideological challenge not only to the churches' socio-economic involvement through charity, but also to the mainstream secular development enterprise. It is concluded through the pragmatic debate in the broader ecumenical development discourse that an enduring divide exists between progressive theoretical thinking on the churches' participation in development and the actual development practices of the churches. It is concluded, akin to an historical charity involvement, that the churches have, generally speaking, been over-investing in project approaches to development at the cost of modes of engagement which highlight an idea- and value-centred development praxis. In chapters four to seven the argument is further developed through the conceptual framework of third and fourth generation development strategies. Through ideas on this conceptual framework, which were first formulated by David Korten in NGO and peoplecentred development debates, but which have also been extended to broader 'alternative' development and social sciences debates within the analytic framework of this study, the idea- and value-centred perspective in this study was further worked out and applied to the churches. It is concluded that the conceptual framework of third generation development strategies poses an appropriate (public) challenge to the churches to become involved in the policy-making, managerial and organisational processes of development. In contrast to a 'politics of limited space' which the third generation mode presents to the churches, it is maintained that the 'unlimited political space' of the fourth generation mode of development involvement is more appropriate to the churches. It is argued that the churches could most effectively and meaningfully participate in the new transnational social movement 'value' and 'idea' politics (e.g. peace, human rights, women, environment, democracy, people-centred development) prioritised in the fourth generation strategic perspective. This argument is further worked out in the final chapter through the proposal of four beacons of action that may guide the churches to become meaningful participants in fourth (and third) generation strategic development action, namely (i) the new social movements, (ii) the new communication solidarities, (iii) alternative development policy, and (iv) 'soft culture'.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die studie was om opnuut te dink oor die strategiese betrokkenheid van die kerke in ontwikkeling. Die skrywer het sodanige oefening op 'n abstrakte en algemene wyse onderneem deur geen spesifieke gevalle studies te doen nie, maar deur verskeie ontwikkelings- en sosiaal wetenskaplike debatte toe te pas om tot 'n nuwe verstaan van die kerke se betekenisvolle deelname in die breë veld van ontwikkeling te kom. Die konsep van die kerke as 'idee' en 'waarde' instellings in die veld van ontwikkeling is spesifiek ontwikkel. Die studie het die ekumeniese teologiese debat oor ontwikkeling van die laaste vier dekades as kritiese vertrekpunt geneem. In die eerste drie hoofstukke word aangetoon hoe die barmhartigheid-ontwikkeling jukstaposisie in die ekumeniese ontwikkelingsdiskoers die historiese en teenswoordige deelname van die kerke in ontwikkeling problematiseer en bepaal. Daar word aangedui hoe hierdie diskoers nie slegs 'n kritiese teoretiese en ideologiese uitdaging aan die kerke se sosioekonomiese betrokkenheid deur middel van barmhartigheidswerk bied nie, maar ook aan die hoofstroom sekulêre ontwikkelingsonderneming. Aan die hand van die pragmatiese debat in die breër ekumeniese ontwikkelingsdiskoers word die gevolgtrekking gemaak dat daar 'n blywende skeiding bestaan tussen progressiewe teoretiese denke oor die kerke se deelname aan ontwikkeling en die teenswoordige ontwikkelingspraktyke van die kerke. Daar word gekonkludeer dat die kerke op 'n soortgelyke wyse as hulle historiese betrokkenheid deur middel van barmhartigheidswerk in die algemeen oorgeïnvesteer het in projek benaderings tot ontwikkeling ten koste van maniere van betrokkenheid wat 'n idee en waarde gesentreerde ontwikkelingspraktyk beklemtoon. In hoofstukke vier tot sewe word die argument verder ontwikkel aan die hand van die konseptuele raamwerk van derde en vierde generasie ontwikkelingstrategieë. Aan die hand van idees oor hierdie konseptuele raamwerk, wat eerstens deur David Korten in NRO en mensgesentreerde ontwikkelingsdebatte geformuleer is, maar binne die analitiese raamwerk van hierdie studie ook neerslag vind in wyer 'alternatiewe' ontwikkelings- en sosiaal wetenskaplike debatte, is die idee en waarde gesentreerde perspektief in die studie verder uitgewerk en toegepas op die kerke. Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat die konseptuele raamwerk van derde generasie ontwikkelingstrategieë 'n gepaste (publieke) uitdaging aan die kerke bied om betrokke te raak by die beleidmakende, bestuurs- en organisatoriese prosesse van ontwikkeling. Teenoor 'n 'politiek van beperkte ruimte' wat die derde generasie wyse van betrokkenheid vir die kerke verteenwoordig, word volgehou dat die 'onbeperkte politieke ruimte' van die vierde generasie wyse van betrokkenheid meer gepas is vir die kerke. Daar word geargumenteer dat die kerke op 'n mees effektiewe en betekenisvolle wyse sou kon deelneem aan die 'waarde' en 'idee' politiek (bv. vrede, mense regte, vroue, omgewing, demokrasie, mensgesentreede ontwikkeling) wat in die vierde generasie strategiese perspektief voorrang geniet. Hierdie argument word verder uitgewerk in die finale hoofstuk deur die voorstel van vier bakens van aksie wat as rigtingwyser kan dien vir die kerke se voorgenome betekenisvolle deelname in vierde (en derde) generasie strategiese ontwikkelingsaksie, naamlik (i) die nuwe sosiale bewegings, (ii) die nuwe kommunikasie solidariteite, (iii) alternatiewe ontwikkelingsbeleid en (iv) 'sagte kultuur'.

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