Rethinking Volunteering and Cosmopolitanism: Beyond Individual Mobilities and Personal Transformations

Baillie Smith, Matt, Thomas, Nisha and Hazeldine, Shaun (2021) Rethinking Volunteering and Cosmopolitanism: Beyond Individual Mobilities and Personal Transformations. Geopolitics, 26 (5). pp. 1353-1375. ISSN 1465-0045

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In this paper we use assemblage thinking to offer a new interrogation of the relationalities of volunteering and development and to revisit volunteering’s relationship to cosmopolitanism. Recent debates about the rise of new actors in development cooperation have seen a growing interest in the geopolitical significance of volunteers and their contribution to development. Research has addressed the ways international volunteering can shape cosmopolitan subjectivities, whilst claims for volunteering’s universality are a key feature of global development policy. However, we argue that existing approaches to volunteering, cosmopolitanism and development remain contained by established development imaginaries and their ascription of agency, authority and expertise to actors from the global North. We use the idea of the assemblage, and data from two research projects, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s (IFRC) Global Review on Volunteering, and a doctoral research project on diaspora volunteering, to explore the constitution of what volunteering is within and between places. Through this, we identify alternative sites for interrogating the capacity of volunteering to challenge established ideas of agency, care and responsibility in development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Volunteering, Cosmopolitanism, Development, Assemblage, Mobilities, Diaspora, Migration, Governance
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
L500 Social Work
L600 Anthropology
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2019 15:38
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2021 14:45

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