An analysis of successful community develoment communication: missionaries, max-neef and the universal need for transcendence

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    This article attempts to isolate a “sufficient condition” for development communication to succeed. It juxtaposes two case studies - the 19th Century Christian missionaries as a developmental success story, and the malign influence of Soviet ideology as a developmental failure - and analyses these case studies in the light of a variety of socalled “alternative theories” of development. Human Scale Development, as articulated by Manfred Max-Neef, emerges as being the most instructive of these paradigms. Max-Neef sought to identify the key “satisfiers” which would enable true development to occur. It is argued that many of the processes and activities that typically accompanied the communication of the message of Christianity to southern African answer to the “satisfiers” that Max-Neef's schema calls for. The enquiry further argues that humankind's fundamental need for transcendence is the only need which, if satisfied, will of necessity culminate in true individual and, by extension, community development. This line of thinking ultimately draws its inspiration from the Ancient Greek concept of eros which is seen to have informed the early missionary movement's message of hope and faith. * Mark