The Spirit of Development: Protestant NGOs, Morality, and Economics in Zimbabwe

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Stanford University Press, 2005 - Business & Economics - 213 pages
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Religious NGOs are important sources of humanitarian aid in Africa, entering where the welfare programs of weakened states fail to provide basic services. As collaborators and critics of African states, religious NGOs occupy an important structural and ideological position. They also, however, illustrate a key irony—how economic development, a symbol of science, progress, and this-worldly material improvement, borrows heavily from other-worldly faith.

Through a study of two transnational NGOs in Zimbabwe, this book offers a nuanced depiction of development as both liberatory and limiting. Humanitarian effort is not a hopeless task, but behind the liberatory potential of Christian development lurks the sad irony that change can bring its own disappointments.

While rapt attention has been given to the supposed role of NGOs in democratizing Africa, few studies engage with the ground operations. Questioning the assumption that economic development is a move away from religious mysticism toward the scientific promise of progress, the author offers a remarkable account of development that is neither defeatist nor comforting.
  

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Review: The Spirit of Development: Protestant NGOs, Morality, and Economics in Zimbabwe

User Review  - Stephanie - Goodreads

An ethnography on the work of faith-based NGOs in Zimbabwe with some informative insight in the way faith-based NGOs construct a different development discourse than the one put forward by secular ... Read full review

Contents

An Ethnograpl y of Faithbased Development
1
Three Perspectives on Missions in Zimbabwe
9
Faith Holism
45
Child Sponsorship Evangelism and Belonging
67
The Politics of Transcendence
97
Participation as a Religious Act
119
Good Evil and the Legitimation of Success
141
Conclusion
169
Zimbabwe Council of Charches
179
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About the author (2005)

Erica Bornstein is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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