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Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Comparative Sociology

Advisor's Name

Liliana Goldin

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Richard Tardanico

Advisor's Name

Alex Stepick, III

Advisor's Name

Ana María Bidegain

Date of Defense

9-26-2008

Abstract

In communities throughout the developing world, faith-based organizations

(FBOs) focus on goals such as eradicating poverty, bolstering local economies, and

fostering community development, while premising their activities and interaction with

local communities on theological and religious understandings. Due to their pervasive

interaction with participants, the religious ideologies of these FBOs impact the religious,

economic, and social realities of communities. This study investigates the relationship

between the international FBO, World Vision International (WVI), and changes to

religious, economic, and social ideologies and practices in Andean indigenous

communities in southern Peruvian. This study aims to contribute to the greater

knowledge and understanding of 1) institutionalized development strategies, 2) faithbased

development, and 3) how institutionalized development interacts with processes of

socio-cultural change.

Based on fifteen months of field research, this study involved qualitative and

quantitative methods of participant-observation, interviews, surveys, and document analysis. Data were primarily collected from households from a sample of eight

communities in the Pitumarca and Combapata districts, department of Canchis, province

of Cusco, Peru where two WVI Area Development Programs were operating.

Research findings reveal that there is a relationship between WVI’s intervention

and some changes to religious, economic, and social structure (values, ideologies, and

norms) and practices, demonstrating that structure and practices change when social

systems are altered by new social actors. Findings also revealed that the impacts of

WVI’s intervention greatly increased over the course of several years, demonstrating that

changes in structure and practice occur gradually and need a period of time to take root.

Finally, results showed that the impacts of WVI’s intervention were primarily limited to

those most closely involved with the organization, revealing that the ability of one social

actor to incite changes in the structure and practice of another actor is associated with the

intensity of the relationship between the social actors. The findings of this study should

be useful in ascertaining deductions and strengthening understandings of how faith-based

development organizations impact aspects of religious, economic, and social life in the

areas where they work.

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