Academic journal article Journal of Haitian Studies

Twinning Faith and Development: Catholic Parish Partnering in the U.S. and Haiti

Academic journal article Journal of Haitian Studies

Twinning Faith and Development: Catholic Parish Partnering in the U.S. and Haiti

Article excerpt

Twinning Faith and Development: Catholic Parish Partnering in the U.S. and Haiti. By Tara Hefferan. Bloomfield, Ct.: Kumarian Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-56549-236-3. 256 pages. $23.95 paper.

Tara Hefferan's text begins on a critical note: she asserts that development - in its highly politicized and privatized state - is organized into a "development apparatus" bent on controlling people in the global South. The introduction succinctly describes the current status of professionalized development's effect upon the maintenance of the status quo, and how private volunteer development efforts must work to counter the entrenchment of this pervasive model of development. Later in the text, though, this view is somewhat softened to consider how "formal" and "lay" development may be similar to each other, and Hefferan concludes with a more balanced assessment of the benefits and obstacles of lay or volunteer development initiatives.

In this work, Hefferan examines these lay development efforts through an anthropological study of a parish's partnership with a Haitian village, and the parish's engagement in various development projects with the express desire to "be a physical demonstration of God's love to the people of Haiti" (p. 91). By adopting an anthropological perspective, the various interconnections and in-depth discourses serve to illustrate the functional and faith-filled relationship between the U.S. parish and the Haitian village. She shows how this particular relationship is overlaid with U.S. parishioners' perceptions of Haiti and Haitians, their view regarding U.S. policy toward Haiti, and the various beliefs about what constitutes "making an impact."

Throughout the analysis of the relationship between the U.S. parish and the Haitian village, the term noblesse oblige invariably comes to mind. …

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