The beginnings of cultural anthropology were characterized by a paternalist approach to the societies under study. The metaphor of the child who needs care, applied to the recipients of developmental projects, has remained its expression until today. For decades anthropologists nurtured the documentary paradigm in which the viewpoint of a Western man dominated; there was no place for dialogue and for the equal status and symmetrical position between the anthropologist and the natives and between the researcher and the researched. The process of empowerment of inhabitants of Third World countries and the related post-colonial discourse introduced a new paradigm of dialoguism. It no longer divides the cognitive process into two stages: a field-documentary stage and an analytical stage, taking place in the researcher's study and assumes that the researchers get as close to the local people's point of view as possible. The anthropology of development and the practice of developmental activity also assume this perspective. When the evolutionist paradigm of development has been questioned, the principle of partnership has been elevated to the position of the key element in the modern development discourse. However, the principle of partnership and the accompanying dialogue approach have many traps, which result, among other things, from the lack of symmetry between the researcher and the researched or the donor and the beneficiary. New phenomena and problems appear, for example the category of intermediaries in the development dialogue between 'local people' and 'global people', differences in the evaluation of the aims and effectiveness of development projects, etc. The paradigm of partnership has not proved to be a miraculous panacea for all the problems of the globalising world; in fact, it has given rise to new challenges.