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Title:Leading while being led: developing the developer at a Catholic NGO in Cape Town
Author:Fore, Grant A.
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Geographic term:South Africa
aid workers
Abstract:The paper uses ethnographic data about the religious ethics undergirding the discourse and practices of development agents at Catholic Welfare and Development (CWD), a faith-based NGO in Cape Town, South Africa. It explores how the dynamic interrelation between faith and ethics permeated the development encounter and produced particular modalities for the ethical/moral development of the subjectivities of CWD's developers. Informed by their own experiences of development, developers attempted to 'develop' those they considered to be benificiaries. The paper argues, and provides evidence to demonstrate that, through the shared experience of development as an interpersonal and intersubjective encounter, both developers and beneficiaries were developed, while they also developed each other. It goes on to suggest that this finding challenges the binary representation of development relationships (developer/beneficiary) and that - despite the asymmetry of the reciprocities involved - it is misleading to think in such dichotomous terms, precisely because doing that misrepresents the power and agency wielded by each subject position in every development encounter. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]