In search of root causes of poverty testing a theological perspective in development dialogues

Wyngaard, Jeremy Gregory (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although there has been a significant improvement in terms of the quality of life for many South Africans since 1994, the reality for a significant portion of the population is still that of abject poverty. The South African government has made giant strides in terms of protecting the most vulnerable members of South African society through the Department of Social Development, the Department of Human Settlements, etc. The Church too, as a serious change-agent in civil society, continues to partner the government, the corporate world, and other institutions in helping to improve the quality of life for those who struggle with a daily poverty experience. In spite of the best efforts of many role-players, and the upward mobility of many people in the country, it would appear as though poverty is still a defining status for millions of South Africans. Accordingly, this study seeks to investigate the critical need for understanding the importance of the root causes of poverty as opposed to simply considering the consequences of poverty. This study therefore aims to understand how the actions of individuals (poor and non-poor) and also economic, social and political systems contribute to either poverty, or poverty eradication. The methodological framework of the study is guided by the practical theological methodology of Robert Osmer and the correlational-hermeneutic approach proposed by Jurgen Hendriks. Chapter 1 introduces the research, conceptualization and methodological orientation. Chapter 2, by means of the hermeneutical question, what is going on?, investigates and describes the socio-economic conditions in the world, Africa, South Africa, and the community of Factreton-Kensington in Cape Town, within a “quadrant” framework of economics, politics, religion and the natural environment. Chapter 3 builds on Chapter 2 and again asks the question: what is going on in the world of development? Chapter 3 also asks the question: why is it going on? Given the dialogical nature between theology and contemporary development discourse of this study, Chapter 4 asks the questions, what do the Bible and theological commentators say about poverty? and what ought to be going on? Chapter 5, building on the human rights approach of Chapter 3 and the ethic of love for one’s neighbour of Chapter 4, seeks to dialogically unlock the results that flow from Chapters 3 and 4. In Chapter 5, the questions are asked, Why is it going on? What ought to be going on? and How might we respond? Chapter 6 concludes with the researcher’s perspectives, shared themes in the theological-contemporary development discourse, and recommendations and conclusions based on the study. The central question here is around: How might we respond to poverty in South Africa? Findings indicate that a theological-contemporary development approach based on human rights and the ethic of “concrete” love for one’s neighbour, has much to offer concerning the eradication of poverty in not only South Africa, but in all poverty contexts around the world.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hoewel daar 'n beduidende verbetering in terme van die kwaliteit van die lewe vir baie Suid-Afrikaners sedert 1994 is, is die werklikheid vir 'n beduidende gedeelte van die bevolking nog steeds dié van uiterste armoede. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering het reuse-vordering gemaak in terme van die beskerming van die mees kwesbare lede van die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing deur die Departement van Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling, die Departement van Menslike Nedersettings, ens. Die Kerk as 'n ernstige verandering-agent in die burgerlike samelewing, werk ook as ‘n vennoot van die regering, die korporatiewe wêreld, en ander instellings om te help om die kwaliteit van lewe vir diegene wat sukkel met 'n daaglikse armoede ervaring te verbeter. Ten spyte van die beste pogings van baie rolspelers sowel as die opwaartse mobiliteit van baie mense in die land, wil dit voorkom asof armoede nog steeds 'n bepalende status vir miljoene Suid-Afrikaners inhou. Gevolglik poog hierdie studie om die belangrikheid van die oorsake van armoede aan te spreek eerder as om net die oorweging van die gevolge van armoede te ondersoek. Hierdie studie het dus ten doel om te verstaan hoe die optrede van individue (arm en nie-arm) en ook die ekonomiese, sosiale en politieke stelsels bydra tot armoede, of die uitwissing van armoede. Die metodologiese raamwerk van die studie is gelei deur die prakties-teologiese metodologie van Robert Osmer en die korrelatiewe-hermeneutiese benadering voorgestel deur Jurgen Hendriks. Hoofstuk 1 stel die navorsing, konseptualisering en metodologiese oriëntasie voor. Hoofstuk 2, deur middel van die hermeneutiese vraag, wat gaan aan?, ondersoek en beskryf die sosio-ekonomiese toestande in die wêreld, Afrika, Suid-Afrika, en die gemeenskap van Factreton-Kensington in Kaapstad, binne “n "kwadrant" raamwerk van die ekonomie, politiek, godsdiens en die natuurlike omgewing. Hoofstuk 3 bou voort op Hoofstuk 2 en word die vraag gevra: wat gaan aan in die wêreld van ontwikkeling? Hoofstuk 3 vra ook die vraag: Hoekom is dit aan die gang? Gegewe die dialogiese aard tussen teologie en kontemporêre ontwikkeling diskoers van hierdie studie, vra Hoofstuk 4 dus die vrae, wat sê die Bybel en teologiese kommentators oor armoede? en wat behoort aan die gang te wees? Hoofstuk 5, wat bou op die menseregte benadering van Hoofstuk 3 en die etiek van die liefde vir die naaste van Hoofstuk 4, soek om dialogiese die resultate te ontsluit wat van Hoofstukke 3 en 4 uitvloei. In Hoofstuk 5, word die vrae wat gevra, wat is die rede waarom dit aangaan? wat behoort aan die gang te wees? en hoe kan ons reageer? Hoofstuk 6 word afgesluit met die navorser se perspektiewe, gedeelde temas in die teologiese-hedendaagse ontwikkeling diskoers, en aanbevelings en gevolgtrekkings gebaseer op die studie. Die sentrale vraag hier is dus: Hoe kan ons reageer op armoede in Suid-Afrika? Bevindinge dui daarop dat 'n teologiese-hedendaagse ontwikkeling benadering gebaseer op menseregte en die etiek van "konkrete" liefde vir die naaste, het baie om aan te bied met betrekking tot die uitwissing van armoede nie net in Suid-Afrika nie, maar in alle armoede kontekste regoor die wêreld.

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