A Theology of International Development: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Theology of International Development

1st Edition

By Thia Cooper


152 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367332013
pub: 2020-02-17
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Religion and development have been intertwined since development's beginnings, yet faith-based aid and development agencies consistently fail to consider how their theology and practice intersect. This book offers a Christian theology of development, with practical solutions to bridge the gap and return to truly faith-based policies and practices.

Development aims to raise the living standard of the world’s poor, mainly through small-scale projects that increase economic growth. A theology of liberation provided a critique to development practice, but a specific theology of development is still lacking, and many faith-based aid agencies have failed to adapt their practice. In applying theological thinking to development, the author argues that aid agencies need to address the entrenchment of unequal power relations, and embrace a holistic notion of development, defined by the needs of those most marginalized, instead of by a focus on economic growth. Development organisations need to consider the distinction between charity and justice, and to empower people in the Global South, paying particular attention to the intersections of race, class, sexuality, religion and the environment.

Overall this book is a powerful call to upend development practice as it currently exists, and to return faith-based organizations to following Christian practices. It will be an important read for religion and development researchers, practitioners, and students.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Theology

1. Empowerment

2. Justice

3. Being with the Marginalized

Part 2: Practice

4. Empowerment in Practice

5. Justice in Practice: Economics

6. Justice at the Intersections


About the Author

Thia Cooper is Professor of Religion and Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, USA

About the Series

Routledge Research in Religion and Development

The Routledge Research in Religion and Development series focuses on the diverse ways in which religious values, teachings and practices interact with international development.

While religious traditions and faith-based movements have long served as forces for social innovation, it has only been within the last ten years that researchers have begun to seriously explore the religious dimensions of international development. However, recognising and analysing the role of religion in the development domain is vital for a nuanced understanding of this field. This interdisciplinary series examines the intersection between these two areas, focusing on a range of contexts and religious traditions.

We welcome book proposals on diverse themes such as faith-based development organisations; religious players in health programming; proselytization and development; religion and the environment; gender, religion and development; religion and post-colonialism; and indigenous communities and development.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd ([email protected]).

Series Editors:

Matthew Clarke, Deakin University, Australia

Emma Tomalin, University of Leeds, UK

Nathan Loewen, University of Alabama, USA

Editorial board:

Carole Rakodi, University of Birmingham, UK

Gurharpal Singh, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Jörg Haustein, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

Christopher Duncanson-Hales, Laurentian University, Canada

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Christian Theology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries