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Conversionary SitesTransforming Medical Aid and Global Christianity from Madagascar to Minnesota$
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Britt Halvorson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226557120

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226557434.001.0001

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Traversing Shadow Spaces of Accountability

Traversing Shadow Spaces of Accountability

(p.208) Chapter Six Traversing Shadow Spaces of Accountability
Conversionary Sites

Britt Halvorson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter charts how aid accountability in Christian aid partnerships selectively combines neoliberal and biblical reasoning on what it means to be morally accountable, creating an emerging, religiously-informed medical audit culture. In the Madagascar-Minnesota medical aid program, aid workers interestingly bring together both bureaucratic accountability’s emphasis on transparency in the use of aid resources and a biblically-based ideology that being accountable means invisibly accompanying fellow Christians elsewhere, as Jesus did on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. While American Lutherans predominantly view their own immobility as the most ethical position, sending medical relief objects and not people or missionaries to Madagascar, accountability requirements certainly travel and have been increasingly woven into each donation of medical relief, financial support or equipment. Moving in the chapter from the Midwest U.S. to Madagascar, the chapter builds a multi-sited portrait of accountability work as a “mobile” or traveling form of humanitarian governance (Pandolfi 2010), understood and enacted in culturally distinct ways. Audit procedures lay bare a vexing set of questions for both Malagasy and Americans: What does it ultimately mean to be accountable, and how is it assessed? Do accountability requirements between fellow believers contradict contemporary principles of global religious communion?

Keywords:   Accountability, Bureaucracy, Humanitarianism, Professionalization, Faith based aid, Accompanying, Audit, Neoliberalism, Christianity

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