Towards a Normative Model for the Practice of Cooperation in Development

  • Henk JochemsenEmail author
Part of the New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion book series (NASR, volume 5)


The development cooperation of wealthy with poor countries—whose modern version started in 1949—is currently much debated. Despite improvements in some countries—notably China—and significant results in social sectors, development cooperation has not, in a sustainable way, eradicated massive severe poverty. Moreover, it never could have since it is a manifestation of modernity-gone-wild with its unsustainable systems of mass production and consumption and unequal power relations. This situation raises the question of whether a normative view of development work could be formulated to avoid the pitfalls of unrealistic expectations, on the one hand, and a reduced economistic approach, on the other.

A normative analysis of the practice of development cooperation leads to the conclusion that this practice is founded in and qualified by the formative aspect with meaning-oriented deliberate shaping as normative principle. Religion and worldview play an important role in the direction in which the practice is developing. The view of “development” forms an important element in the directional side of development cooperation. Development in this view is not primarily economic growth, but value realization as the result of cooperative human action in social practices and institutions. Development cooperation should support people in such value realization.


Development Aid Cooperation Poverty Sustainability Modernity Normative practice approach Value realization 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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