Development, ethics and theology: interdisciplinary connections and challenges

Journal of Global Ethics 7 (3):303-313 (2011)
In this paper, I address the interdisciplinary character of development studies and ethics by discussing the relationship between Christian theology and development studies in general and development ethics in particular. I begin by presenting development theology, a kind of theology that critically reflects on the meaning and implications of the Christian faith with regard to improving the lives of people living in material poverty. This kind of theology is related to the better-known liberation theology, and I discuss the role of this kind of theology in the works of Denis Goulet, the founder of development ethics as an academic discipline. I argue there is a fruitful, critical and constructive relationship between liberation theology and development ethics in the writings of Goulet. I then turn to how development issues are addressed in contemporary theology, with an emphasis on documents produced by two faith-based development organizations, Christian Aid UK and Norwegian Church Aid. I argue that development issues have been readdressed in Christian theology, relying less on the notion of liberation, but more on the concepts of reconstruction, ?diakonia?, human dignity and human relationships. I argue that there is a need to revisit the critical and constructive connections between Christian theology and development ethics and, more broadly, the related challenges of interdisciplinary inquiries, and I conclude by showing some of the ways of undertaking this task.
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DOI 10.1080/17449626.2011.635681
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Nigel Dower (2008). The Nature and Scope of Development Ethics. Journal of Global Ethics 4 (3):183 – 193.

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