“There is no institution stronger than the church” : situating evangelical actors in the institutional landscape of development practice in the Dominican Republic

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2018-05-01

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Daigle, Caroline Louise

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Abstract

This research centers on understanding the networks shaped by American Evangelical Christian non-governmental organizations as a particular subset of actors that influence community development practice in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I aim to provide a more nuanced understanding of what may make these organizations unique in terms of social service delivery and develop an analysis of the networks they shape. I use three case studies of organizations operating in Santo Domingo and show that there are different models these organizations adapt in order to carry out their initiatives. Drawing on seven weeks of fieldwork, as well as on interdisciplinary scholarship, I highlight the importance of a nuanced understanding of how evangelical entities actually operate as development actors. In short, the core of my argument is that faith matters when it comes to both approaches and responses to development work, and that American evangelical development organizations are increasingly prominent, yet persistently understudied, institutions performing development.

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